The coun­try bids farewell to a leg­end

Waitaki Herald - - YOUR HEALTH - IAN AN­DER­SON

This week the na­tion marked the pass­ing of the great Sir Colin Meads.

Meads was the most fa­mous of am­a­teur era All Blacks, an icon who re­mained a highly pop­u­lar fig­ure here and abroad decades af­ter his out­stand­ing play­ing ca­reer ended.

In 133 matches for the All Blacks be­tween 1957 and 1971, the tough-as-teak King Coun­try lock played 55 tests and be­came recog­nised through­out the world as the face of New Zealand rugby.

He was a colos­sus of a by­gone era, well be­fore the ad­vent of pro­fes­sion­al­ism led to a huge in­crease in the num­ber of tests played each year.

At 1.92m and 102kg, he was small by to­day’s stan­dards but al­ways gave the im­pres­sion of be­ing a giant and com­ple­mented his nat­u­ral ath­leti­cism with a rare fe­roc­ity.

Meads played hard and ex­pected his opposition to do the same. He en­joyed his du­els with rugged men such as Wil­lie John McBride of Ire­land, Benoit Dauga, of France, and Spring­bok Frik du Preez.

Meads re­ceived just about every hon­our the game be­stowed, in­clud­ing mem­ber­ship of the In­ter­na­tional Hall of Fame and the New Zealand Sport­ing Hall of Fame.

There was no de­bate in late 1999 when New Zealand Rugby Monthly mag­a­zine named him the New Zealand player of the cen­tury and in the 2001 New Year’s Hon­ours list he was made a New Zealand Com­pan­ion of Merit.

In August 2016, it was an­nounced that the rugby great had been di­ag­nosed with pan­cre­atic cancer.

Sir Colin’s last ma­jor public ap­pear­ance was in Te Kuiti in June, when a statue of the 81-yearold was un­veiled on his home­town, a great oc­ca­sion for one of the great rugby play­ers.

‘‘It’s like every­thing in life, if you try to be your­self and don’t try to be some­body else, it all comes right. I’ve en­joyed it.’’

– Sir Colin Meads, 03 June 1936 - 20 August 2017

All Blacks leg­end Sir Colin Meads died af­ter bat­tling cancer, aged 81. Photo circa 1970.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.