Colin Meads, greatest All Black of 20th century, dies at 81

Colin Meads, greatest All Black of 20th century, dies at 81

Colin Meads was, and still is, one of New Zealand's rugby greats - but so much more. His son Glynn, an able rugby player, was known as Pinecone.

Meads was renowned for his toughness in a lengthy global playing career that spanned 14 years.

Sean Fitzpatrick wrote: "So sad to wake up to the news that Sir Colin has died".

"He was not only a great All Black but also a genuinely good New Zealand bloke", English said. I played in his position in the second test and, well we missed him, but we actually won that test.

Joined the Waitete club and made age-grade provincial teams before making his senior debut for King Country aged 19. His selection in that position was nearly unchallenged for the next 14 years.

Inducted into New Zealand's Sports Hall of Fame. He became only the second All Blacks player to be sent off in a test match, against Scotland in 1967, though he was considered unlucky in that instance.

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"It was the only time I never played with him in a test match in my life".

"And the fact that he played over a long period of time - something like 12 years at the national level is a massive amount of time and particularly in those days when it was amateur and you had another career as well".

Former All Blacks captain Sean Fitzpatrick: " So sad to wake up to the news that Sir Colin has died.

Already renowned for his toughness and no-nonsense attitude on the field, Meads broke his arm against Eastern Transvaal on the 1970 tour of South Africa but finished the game. With a pint of beer clutched in one hand Meads would regale audiences with droll recollections of his career and pithy observations on the state of the modern game.

"Colin Meads was legendary and it is fitting that Te Kuiti has a marvellous statute of him".

Meads is survived by his wife Verna, their five children, 14 grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.

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