Rugby News

FACTBOX-Rugby-All Blacks great Colin Meads

Aug 4 - Factbox on former All Blacks lock Colin Meads, who died from pancreatic cancer on Sunday.

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)


* Born in Cambridge, Meads grew up on the family farm outside Te Kuiti in New Zealand’s King Country.

* Joined the Waitete club and made age-grade provincial teams before making his senior debut for King Country aged 19. His first points for the province were from a drop goal.

* Named in a New Zealand Colts side that toured Australia and Sri Lanka in 1955.

* Came to prominence in 1956 when he made the North Island team as a loose forward but was not chosen for the test series against South Africa because he was considered too young to face the Springboks.


* 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.


* Held several coaching and administrative roles, including as a national selector in 1986, but was forced to step down after taking charge of an unsanctioned ‘Cavaliers’ side to South Africa the same year.

* Was elected to the New Zealand Rugby Union Council in 1992.

* Served as manager of the All Blacks in 1994 and 1995, including at the Rugby World Cup in South Africa.

* Stepped away from rugby after the NZRU changed its governance structure to move to a smaller board in 1996.

* Had a successful career as an after-dinner speaker regaling crowds with some of the stories, tall tales and myths that had swirled around his playing career.


* Named New Zealand Player of the Century in 1999.

* Awarded several domestic honours by New Zealand’s government, culminating in being made a New Zealand Distinguished Companion of Merit in 2001, an honour which was redesignated as a knighthood in 2009.

* In 2006, New Zealand’s amateur provincial competition was renamed as the Heartland Championship with the winners awarded the Meads Cup.

* Inducted into New Zealand’s Sports Hall of Fame. Also named in World Rugby’s Hall of Fame in 2014.

* Honoured by his home town of Te Kuiti with a statue unveiled during the 2017 Lions tour.