The Pass­ing of Sir Colin Meads

NZ Rugby World - - 2017 The Year In Review -

of David Hav­ili, Ngani Laumape and Vaea Fi­fita hov­er­ing in the back­ground.

Bot­tom line was that the All Blacks of 2017 were a lot younger and a lot less ex­pe­ri­enced than the All Blacks of 2016.

“We have prob­a­bly gone deeper than we wanted to,” said coach Steve Hansen. “But I guess that is one of the pos­i­tives out of the neg­a­tives of in­juries and peo­ple hav­ing tragedies in their lives and so forth. It is not do­ing us any harm. It makes you a bit un­com­fort­able when you are the coach, I guess, be­cause you are not sure if they are ready. But the guys have done re­ally well.

“Some have sur­prised us and some have just con­firmed what we al­ready knew. It has been good and we will get the re­wards from it in 2019 when we go to the World Cup. We are build­ing our depth but just as im­por­tantly, we are build­ing the ex­pe­ri­ences both pos­i­tive and neg­a­tive. Those ex­pe­ri­ences make you stronger.” Those younger than 50 would say Richie McCaw. Those older than 50 would say Sir Colin Meads was the best All Black in his­tory.

Pine­tree, as he was uni­ver­sally known, was an enor­mous char­ac­ter. A gen­uine leg­end in ev­ery sense and a man who came to de­fine the All Blacks.

A bril­liant player, a tough but sen­sa­tion­ally funny and ap­proach­able man, Meads passed away in Septem­ber af­ter a long fight against can­cer. The trib­utes poured in from all over the world and the old video footage was dug out and the rem­i­nisc­ing was sen­sa­tional – a real chance to see what an in­cred­i­ble rugby player he had been.

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