King Coun­try rugby re­mem­bers Meads

Taupo Times - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - 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.

In­stead, a plain jer­sey was worn by the young man play­ing lock for the King Coun­try.

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

Meads, a for­mer All Black, passed away on Au­gust 20 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 Meads was ever-present. of

‘‘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 #583’’, 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 team’s gen­eral play had been okay,

‘‘There were some glim­mers of hope there. It’s a young team,’’ he said.

There was con­cern about the team’s scrum though.

‘‘We re­ally strug­gled up front. We’re a lit­tle short in the prop­ping de­part­ments,’’ he said.

With the team play­ing in hon­our of Meads, Haines said the re­sult was dis­ap­point­ing.

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

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

ROBERT STEVEN/STUFF

Centre Stephan Turner pre­pares to meet a tack­ler in Satur­day’s Owen De­lany Park game.

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