Sir Colin Meads: How a rugged Te Kuiti rugby player forged the legacy of Pinetree

Sir Colin Meads for many was an icon of the gritty, physical game of old rugby, but what stories led to such a legacy? 

He played 133 matches for the All Blacks between 1957 and 1971 and as a sporting legend is New Zealand's equivalent of Australia's Sir Donald Bradman or America's Babe Ruth.

And like The Don or the Great Bambino, Pinetree has tales that will last the tests of time to keep his legacy as the personified version of All Blacks rugby and heartland culture.

Bryan Williams says Sir Colin played a huge role in his own rugby career, especially when it came to how All Blacks should behave on the pitch. Source: 1 NEWS

Lion-tamer of 1966

After 133 matches, narrowing a standout performance to remember Sir Colin by is simply too hard to do. Instead, we'll remember a superb squad that Pinetree had a heavy influence on.

The 1966 Lions Tour was a mixed bag for the Lions - they won their first two Tests across the ditch against Australia, but received a rude awakening in the shape of four series-sweeping losses to the All Blacks once they touched down on New Zealand shores.

In fairness though, when you're facing a forward pack consisting of Jack Hazlett, Bruce McLeod and Ken Gray in the front row, the Meads brothers of Sir Colin and Stan at locks and a loose forward trio consisting of Waka Nathan, Kel Tremain and Brian Lochore, it is not going to be an easy task.

That forward pack went unchanged in the 4-0 sweep of the Lions as the All Blacks won 20-3, 16-12, 19-6 and 24-11 in Dunedin, Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland respectively.

The gritty, unrelenting style Sir Colin was famous for did get him into trouble in the final Test though after he laid out captain David Watkins with a punch for reasons only the two of them seem to know about.

Regardless, the forward pack of 1966 features some of the All Blacks' greatest so who else would be at the middle of it all than the Te Kuiti hardman?

A Scottish Send-off

Fastforward a year and Sir Colin was still getting himself into trouble - although this time he went down in the history books as only the second ever All Black to be sent off in a Test for his actions.

Murrayfield, 1967; the All Blacks were playing against Scotland.

Sir Colin had been warned early in the match fifty years ago by Irish referee Kevin Kelleher for recklessly attempting to kick a loose ball when a Scottish player had dived on the ground for it, so when the All Black lock did it a second time in the match to Scottish flyhalf David Chisholm, the ref had no choice.

Kelleher immediately called in Sir Colin as the Murrayfield crowd made their voices heard with boos from the stands.

The ref pointed to the sideline to give Sir Colin his marching orders since the concept of yellow and red cards weren't introduced until three years later at the 1970 FIFA World Cup.

Though Sir Colin turned back to plead his case, he finally accepted the decision and made his way to the sideline with his head down as just the second All Black in history to be sent off in a match.

The All Blacks still went on to win the game 14-3.

Late Kiwi sports journalist Sir Terry McLean revealed some years later Chisholm sought out Meads to say the decision by ref was harsh.

Kieran Read said Mead wasn't just a great New Zealand player but was an outstanding international rugby player in his time playing in the black jersey. Source: 1 NEWS

All Blacks Captain #39

Sir Colin didn't need the title to be recognised as a leader in the All Blacks, but while playing alongside two of the team's most respected skippers in Wilson Whineray and Sir Brian Lochore, he didn't exactly need to officially fill the role either.

However, following Lachore's retirement in 1971, Pinetree finally stepped up to lead - he would lead the side for 11 matches in his career.

It wasn't exactly the best start to his captaining career though after the touring Lions side from that year became the first, and only, side to secure a winning tour.

The tourists were a strong side and coached by Carwyn Jones and after snatching two of the first three games of the tour, held their mantle to claim the series with a 14-14 draw at Eden Park.

Sir Colin also captained the team during tours of Britain and South Africa before finally hanging up his boots at the end of 1971.

Rugby writer Phil Gifford theorises if Sir Colin's play-style could fit into the current All Black. Source: Breakfast

No pain, no glory

Finally, this collection of memoirs of a bruising, relentless giant wouldn't be complete without the South African Tour of 1970 and that broken arm.

Sir Colin broke his arm during a game against Eastern Transvaal but played on, claiming the injury was only a pinched nerve.

The team went on to win that game 24-3 but lost Sir Colin for a month and nine games in total.

However, he returned for the final two Tests against the Springboks, donning a poor excuse for an armguard to try and protect any further injury.

"Of course, that wouldn't happen today. ACC wouldn't allow you to play," he said years later.

The barnstorming lock from Te Kuiti who's skills on the field were only matched by his wise words off it - the everlasting legacy of Pinetree.

'I'm sure we'll see his game go to even greater heights' - All Blacks star Rieko Ioane signs long term deal with NZ Rugby

Star winger Rieko Ioane has committed to the All Blacks for four more years in a significant win for New Zealand Rugby.

The 21-year-old, who has scored 18 tries from 18 Tests, was the subject of intense offshore club interest but has chosen to remain put at his Super Rugby team the Blues.

His deal is the longest of any current All Black, taking him to the end of 2022.

Ioane was last year crowned World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year and was also a nominee for the main award.

His electric pace and nose for the tryline has been a key element for the world champions, most notably on last year's tour of Europe when he single-handedly proved the difference in Test wins over Scotland and Wales.

"I want to give it my best shot at serving the black jersey and, hopefully, I'll get the chance to play at the Rugby World Cup in the future. That's a huge motivator for me," he said.

Akira Ioane was an unlucky exclusion from Steve Hansen's squad this morning.
Source: 1 NEWS

Ioane's older brother Akira, 23, has also extended his NZ Rugby contract, until 2021.

The powerful Blues No.8 is yet to be capped but played a midweek match for the All Blacks in France last November.

Both brothers are former New Zealand sevens stars who are regarded by All Blacks coach Steve Hansen as among the country's premier young players.

"With his growing maturity and growth in his game understanding, I'm sure we'll see Rieko's game go to even greater heights," Hansen said.

"Akira is also an immense talent who has a bright future in our national game and we congratulate him on his decision as well."

(L to R) Sonny Bill Williams, Rieko Ioane and Akira Ioane,
All Blacks training session ahead of the upcoming test series against France. Alexandra Park. Auckland, New Zealand. Tuesday 22 May 2018. © Copyright photo: Andrew Cornaga /
Rieko Ioane and Akira Ioane during an All Blacks training session in Auckland. Source: Photosport



All Blacks star Rieko Ioane signs four year deal with NZ Rugby

All Blacks winger Rieko Ioane has signed a new four-year deal with New Zealand Rugby today.

The 21-year-old was named World Rugby's breakout player of the year in 2017 and has been outstanding for the national side since making his debut in 2016.

Brother Akira also signed a new three-year deal with NZ Rugby.

Rieko has scored 18 tries in 18 Tests, including a double against South Africa in Wellington last week in the All Blacks' 36-34 loss.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said it was "fantastic news for New Zealand Rugby. Rieko is a young player with undoubted talent who has already achieved wonderful things on the international stage."

Rieko said he felt "incredibly privileged to get the opportunity to play my rugby here for another four years." He said playing at a World Cup was "a huge motivator for me."

All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster said last month that Rieko is key player for the future.

"He's a vital component of our plan going forward," said Foster.

"I can't speak highly enough about him. He came in with a bit of a swagger and he has learned about the All Blacks.

"What I like is he has got real maturity about him, he hasn't got ahead of himself, and he quietly goes about his work."

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The new deal will see Rieko stay in New Zealand until the end of 2022 with Akira signed until the end of 2021.

"He's learning how to prepare better and better every test match, and when he goes out and plays he seems to enjoy doing what he's done since he was a kid. As long as we can keep him in that mode it's really exciting."

Rieko Ioane scores his second try.
New Zealand All Blacks v South Africa Springboks. Rugby Championship test match. Westpac Stadium, Wellington, New Zealand. Saturday 15 September 2018. © Copyright photo: Andrew Cornaga /
All Blacks winger Rieko Ioane scores his second try against the Springboks. Source: Photosport



Wallabies star Israel Folau wins Waratahs MVP award despite controversial year

Superstar fullback Israel Folau has won the Matthew Burke Cup, the NSW Waratahs players' players award.

The Wallabies back polled 99 votes, to finish ahead of captain and openside flanker Michael Hooper (77), backrower Michael Wells (71) and inside centre Kurtley Beale (65).

Votes were cast on a 3-2-1 basis by members of each match day squad after the Waratahs Super Rugby games.

Wells won the Waratahs best forward award and Beale took out the gong for their best back.

The NSW women's player of the year was veteran back Ash Hewson, who captained her state to the inaugural Super W title.

SYDNEY, NSW - MARCH 18: Waratahs player Israel Folau (14) looks towards the scoreboard at round 5 of the Super Rugby between Waratahs and Rebels at Allianz Stadium in Sydney on March 18, 2018. (Photo by Speed Media/Icon Sportswire)
Waratahs player Israel Folau. Source: Photosport


Rampaging Northland forwards combine for exquisite try as Taniwha dominate Southland

Northland piled on the hurt for Southland in the Mitre 10 Cup, handing the visitors their 17th consecutive loss with the Taniwha winning 26-10 at Toll Stadium in Whangārei last night.

The home team dominated the Stags in the first spell, running in three tries to lead at the break 19-3.

The try of the match came in the 17th minute, when several Northland forwards combined down the left edge for a brilliant play.

Number eight Matt Matich made a line-break from the back of the breakdown just outside the Stag's 40 metre line, then linked up with Isileli Tu'ungafasi who bowled over Southland's halfback Jay Renton with ease after a charging run.

Northland quickly shifted the ball down the left flank where Kara Pryor threw a dummy before popping up a perfect pass to Matich who crossed over for Northland's second try of the match.

The Taniwha will now take on Hawke's Bay next on Wednesday at McLean Park in Napier.

Northland sit third on the Mitre 10 Cup Championship ladder.

Northland 26: (Matt Mattich, Sam Nock, Murray Douglas 2 tries; Jack Debreczeni 3 cons)

Southland 10: (Manaaki Selby-Rickit try; James Wilson pen, Broc Hooper con) HT: 19-3

The Taniwha defeated the Stags 26-10 in Whangārei. Source: SKY