Sir Colin Meads was the player so long held up as the epitome of what an All Black should be - skillful, tough, quick, big and with a huge will to win.
He wasn't above heading into the dark places on the field either.
Here are some quick facts about his career:
- He made his representative debut in 1955 with King Country and played all his 139 provincial games for his home union.
- Meads played 133 games for the All Blacks between 1957 and 1971 (his first match against Australia and last the Lions). In his 55 tests he scored seven tries and was captain four times.
- He was dubbed "PineTree" by a teammate during a New Zealand Colts tour.
- Meads played at a time when substitutes were not allowed. Famously, during the 1970 tour to South Africa, he broke his arm during a provincial match. He continued to play and at the end said: "At least we won the bloody game".
- In 1967 he was sent from the field during a test match against Scotland. That made him only the second All Black to be ordered off for dangerous play.
- After his playing career, Meads went on to coach and became a national selector. He fell out with the NZR in the 1980s when he coached an unauthorised Cavaliers tour to South Africa despite the boycott that was in place. He returned to favour in the 1990s and was elected to the NZR council. He followed this by becoming the All Blacks manager for their ill-fated 1995 World Cup campaign in South Africa.
- In 1999 he was named New Zealand's player of the century and the International Rugby Hall of Fame rated him "the most famous forward in world rugby" during the 1960s.
- In recent years the Meads Cup has been played for as part of the Heartland Rugby Championship.