Story: Rugby union

Colin Meads (4th of 5)

Colin Meads

Famous All Black forward Colin Meads holds the ball following a lineout during the match against the Barbarians at Twickenham, England, on 16 December 1967. The other players visible are Chris Laidlaw, halfback, waiting for the pass, and (from left) Ken Gray, Brian Muller (obscured), Sam Strahan, Kel Tremain and Waka Nathan. Coached by Fred Allen, the 1967 team won 16 of its 17 matches with one drawn.

Meads came to be regarded by many as the epitome of the hard, rugged New Zealand rugby forward. His international career lasted from 1957 until 1971 and he continued playing first-class rugby for another two years. He played 133 times for New Zealand, including 55 tests, a record for the time. He made his test debut in Australia in 1957 as a flanker but 47 of his 55 tests were at lock, a position he dominated in world rugby through the 1960s. Meads’s style was one of utter commitment and he was feared and respected by opponents. In 1967 in Edinburgh he became the second player to be sent off in an international.

Meads’s test career ended with the All Black captaincy against the British Isles in 1971, and his first-class career with matches staged in his honour by the New Zealand Rugby Football Union (NZRFU) in Wellington and Auckland in 1973. He later coached King Country with success, and was a New Zealand selector, but was voted off the national panel in 1986 after coaching the unofficial Cavaliers in South Africa. Meads was elected to the NZRFU’s council in 1992 and was manager of the All Blacks in 1994 and 1995. He was voted rugby player of the century by Rugby World magazine in 2000.

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How to cite this page:

Ron Palenski, 'Rugby union - International rugby – northern hemisphere', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/40029/colin-meads (accessed 25 June 2017)

Story by Ron Palenski, published 5 Sep 2013, updated 19 Sep 2016