All Blacks legend Sir Colin Meads has passed away at the age of 81 following a long and arduous battle with pancreatic cancer.
The former lock, who many believed was New Zealand’s greatest rugby player of the 20th century battled with pancreatic cancer for over a year. He died at Te Kuiti Hospital on Sunday morning.
Tributes have been pouring in from the global rugby community for Meads, who was affectionately referred to as ‘Pinetree’. Sir Colin was a star in the 1960s. The King Country farmer made his debut for New Zealand against Australia in 1957 as a flanker. He first captained the All Blacks in a test match against the British and Irish Lions in 1971 and ended his career in the same series.
Sir Colin was named New Zealand Player of the Century in 1999. He was made a New Zealand Distinguished Companion of Merit in 2001 and was knighted in 2009.
He was inducted into New Zealand’s Sports Hall of Fame and World Rugby’s Hall of Fame.
New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English said Meads’ passing is a sad day for New Zealand and for its national sport of rugby.
‘He represented what it means to be a New Zealander. He was no nonsense, reliable, hard-working, warm and very generous with his time,’ English said.