21 Aug 2017

'Meads' rugby was dug out of the farmland'

From Morning Report, 8:15 am on 21 August 2017

Rugby journalist and historian Ron Palenski and commentator Keith Quinn reflect on what made Sir Colin Meads great.

"There's a lot of humility about him, [he had a] very laconic way of speaking, although he had a lot of fame he was never a rich man and yet he did a lot for people in the community - he raised a huge amount of money for IHC for example," Dr Palenski says. 

"Colin Meads' rugby was dug out of the farmland... and that's what made him so strong," Mr Quinn says. 

Regarding the event when Sir Colin chose to coach the South Africa-bound Cavaliers team, against the wishes of the NZ Rugby Union, Dr Palenski says it lost him mana with some people in the community. 

"But I think it was an element of about naivety about it rather than any sinister aspect. He had a lifelong love affair with South Africa because they were good rugby players. He felt he could contribute to the development of New Zealand rugby by going to South Africa with those rebel All Blacks."

Mr Quinn says Sir Colin did not believe in mixing sport and politics. "A high percentage of New Zealand rugby people felt [that] in those days, and some of those people felt that by going to South Africa they were helping the cause of building towards multiracial sport in South Africa."