King Country rugby remembers Meads
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.’’
Centre Stephan Turner prepares to meet a tackler in Saturday’s Owen Delany Park game.