King Coun­try hon­ours Meads

Ruapehu Press - - Your Health - ROBERT STEVEN, STEPH RANGI

A space in the King Coun­try Rams’ squad was held open in mem­ory of Sir Colin ‘‘Pine­tree’’ Meads on Satur­day.

The Num­ber 5 jer­sey, the one Pine­tree would have worn at 139 Pro­vin­cial rugby games, was rested.

A plain jer­sey was worn by the lock for King Coun­try in­stead.

The match against West Coast was the first game of the Heart­land Cham­pi­onship sea­son.

Meads, a former All Black had played 139 first class games for King Coun­try. He passed away last Sun­day at the age of 81.

Meads had been chair­man of the King Coun­try Rugby Foot­ball Union un­til 2002, when Ivan Haines took over the role.

Haines said mem­ory of Meads was ever present.

‘‘It doesn’t mat­ter if you’ve never met him, in the King Coun­try,’’ Haines said.

‘‘He is the King Coun­try as far as rugby is con­cerned.’’

A large sign, ‘‘RIP Pine­tree #533’’, was painted into the grass at Taupo’s Owen De­lany Park for the match.

King Coun­try play­ers wore black bands and a mo­ment of si­lence was held be­fore kick­off.

‘‘We played in the blue and white socks, which were the colours of his club’s socks, Waitete,’’ Haines said.

Meads was loyal to his Te Kuiti club through­out his ca­reer, play­ing for them from 1954 to 1976.

‘‘A lot of the play­ers to­day might not have met him, but they know who he is and what he stands for, so he’ll be held in the great­est of re­spect by all the play­ers,’’ Haines said.

De­spite the oc­ca­sion, Satur­day’s match didn’t go King Coun­try’s way.

Both teams made mul­ti­ple han­dling er­rors, play­ing in the rain. West Coast came out on top, scor­ing three tries and win­ning 17-6.

Haines said the re­sult was dis­ap­point­ing but it was a youn g team and there were ‘‘glim­mers of hope’’.

‘‘He would have been pretty grumpy about it, I can tell you.

‘‘But he’d be well used to it. We lost a lot of games on the way through,’’ Haines said.

‘‘Let’s hope we can get through the sea­son and im­prove a bit – get to the Meads Cup and have a crack at that.’’ SIT­U­A­TIONS VA­CANT

ROBERT STEVEN/STUFF

The colos­sal fig­ure of Sir Colin ‘‘Pine­tree’’ Meads was com­mem­o­rated at the King Coun­try Rams first Mitre10 Heart­land Cham­pi­onship game against West Coast on Satur­day.

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