“If a tree falls in the forest does it make a sound?’
We now know the answer – it does if it’s a ‘Pinetree’
Earlier today Colin ‘Pinetree’ Meads lost his battle with cancer at the age of 81
Tributes have poured in for one of the most formidable forwards ever in world rugby.
Born: June 3, 1936 in Cambridge
Died: August 20, 2017 (aged 81)
Height: 1.92 metres
Weight: 102 kgs
All Blacks debut: v New South Wales, Sydney (May 18, 1957)
Test debut: v Australia, Sydney (May 25, 1957)
Last test: v British and Irish Lions, Auckland (Aug. 14, 1971)
All Blacks matches: 133 (55 tests)
* Made his test debut against Australia in 1957 as a flanker, one of just eight tests when he did not play lock.
* Became virtually an automatic choice from then on, but was dropped against the Lions in 1959 and then against Australia in 1962.
* Captained the All Blacks for the first time on the tour of Britain in 1963-64, a 23-9 victory over Combined Services.
* In New Zealand’s 14-3 victory over Scotland at Murrayfield, became the second All Blacks player to be sent off in a test match.
* 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. He missed two of the four tests because of the injury.
* Named to lead the All Blacks in a test match for the first time in his final series against the Lions in 1971.
* Ended his international career following the 14-14 draw against the Lions at Eden Park, which gave the combined side a 2-1 series victory — their first and only series win over the All Blacks.
* Continued to play for two more seasons before retiring in 1973 after having played a total of 361 first class matches, a record that stood until Keven Mealamu surpassed it in 2015.
His battle with Willie John McBride on the 1971 Lions tour was worth the cost of a ticket alone.
Meads had retired when I first saw the All Blacks play ‘live’ – 1973 at Twickenham with my mate Ben.
However I did see him at the ‘Martin Johnson tour dinner’ in NZ in 2005.
He was on the stage with other legends of the game including Martin Johnson (obviously), Jock Hobbs, Jason Leonard and Peter Wheeler.
The only one I actually spoke to was Peter Wheeler who I had known from playing with and against him at Brocks.
I had planned to give the others the colossal benefit of my rugby experience, but I was too pissed – having just bought a Lions shirt signed by MJ for more than $NZ 500 in the auction.
I will always regret not shaking ‘Pinetree’s’ hand.
I did pick up a biography of Sir Colin by Brian Turner in a second hand bookshop (a bargain $5.50) in Queenstown though – it is a good read
The best chapter is number 3 ‘A Hard Man’
“I was mean in the sense that I wanted to win and thought we had to win when wearing the All Black jersey”
All Black Fergie McCormack said that Meads was ‘a terrible man with the silver fern on’
Few of his opponents would disagree I expect.
A sad day and New Zealand and the rugby world will mourn his passing.