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Colin Meads: “hard work and get a haircut!”

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Author Topic: Colin Meads: “hard work and get a haircut!”  (Read 674 times)
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Having fun in the hills!

« on: May 07, 2012, 05:43:10 pm »

Meads gives hair-raising advice

“The haka was my warm-up”

By JARED SMITH - Taranaki Daily News | 5:00AM - Monday, 07 May 2012


HARD WORK and a decent haircut would go a long way to improving modern rugby in Sir Colin Meads' view.

"I don't like dreadlocks," he told young Andrew Hunger, who was sporting a rat's tail, at a fundraising function for the Stratford High School's 1st XV on Saturday.

Sir Colin was the special guest for the team's Australian tour fundraiser and although his fellow rugby knight Brian Lochore had to withdraw through ill health, the All Blacks legend still held the young men in awe.

As 400 paying guests took their seats in the adjacent room of War Memorial Hall, the boys listened and asked questions about memorable moments, hard-nosed opponents, old-school training and inside All Black stories from his era to the modern day.

"The basic thing is fitness and doing what you're told, because a lot of them don't," said Sir Colin before the talk when asked what would be his main advice to the teenagers.

He also told them to enjoy Australia, while still working hard when it counts, because a rugby tour is unlike any other overseas experience.

"I was a country boy from Te Kuiti. It it hadn't been for rugby, I'd still be a country boy living in Te Kuiti going to the sales once a week."

THE LINEUP: Colin Meads joins the Stratford High School First XV for their team photo. — JONATHAN CAMERON/Fairfax NZ.
THE LINEUP: Colin Meads joins the Stratford High School First XV for their team photo.

Sir Colin had just come in for the event and so had not met up with old Taranaki opposition and friends.

However, he had seen several of them during the week as they laid his former coach and mentor Sir Fred Allen to rest.

Serving as a pallbearer for his friend was one of the greatest privileges Sir Colin has ever had.

"He was a great coach, a real task master. Used to give me hell, but a top man."

He told a wonderful story about how Allen told him and Kel Tremain the night before a game that he was going to tear strips off them the next day for being fat and bad lineout jumpers — just to make the young players in the team pay attention.

Having been all over the country in every rugby capacity imaginable, Sir Colin includes memories of Stratford.

He played in the mid-1960s for a combined Wanganui-King Country team in the town.

"Stratford used to be the strongest club in Taranaki in those days."

"Alan Smith, who was my team-mate in the All Blacks, played for them. A good man."



On brother and All Black Stan Meads:

"He was younger than I was but he was a fanatical rugby man."

"He studied the game, studied photos."

"He could name the 1949 All Blacks by the photo."

"I couldn't name them to save my life."

On workrate:

"If you come off the field and you feel you haven't done enough, you've let the side down."

On the pre-match:

"I used to sit in a corner. I didn't change until 30 minutes before the game. The haka was my warmup."

On warmups:

"I worry about the modern game, I think they do too much warmup. If you need tackling practice before the game, you shouldn't be in the team."

On modern rules:

"The rules are stupid, they've got too many. They have all these sayings now. I thought ‘gates’ are on farms. If they had rucking like we did, they wouldn't do half of that [infringement]."

On Don Clarke:

"The old leather balls were greasy and heavy."

"Don Clarke could kick goals from 60m. With today's ball he could do 80m."

How his All Blacks would fare against the 2011 team:

"Today they're a stone heavier, four inches taller. Still, we talk over a beer or two and we seem to think we'd do all right."

Worst rucking injury:

"Nothing that didn't heal."

The lesson of mercurial wing Grant Batty being a halfback until injuries saw him put out wide for Wellington:

"Wherever you play, you've got to take opportunities where you can."

Toughest opponent:

"Martin Pelser (South Africa)."

In a 1960 tour game with Transvaal, Pelser decked Kel Tremain when he pushed him in the lineout. Meads swapped positions, pushed Pelser, then ran to the back of the ruck. Pelser came right around the back, dragged him out and smacked him. A "good fella" who played with a glass eye.

Greatest captain:

Sir Wilson Whineray.

"Wilson could be with the Queen and do it perfect. "Then he could be with a drunken Welshman on the street and be perfect."

Most deflating moment:

"There was a day in Scotland I wasn't too happy [1967, v Scotland at Murrayfield, sent off for dangerous play]. I kicked the ball, I was at the back of the Scottish ruck."

Note: Sir Colin still exchanges Christmas cards with the Irish referee, Kevin D Kelleher.

On "Meadsville" during the Rugby World Cup:

"In one day during that I met people from 10 different countries. This Canadian came up to my fence, wanted to dig my garden."

On being addressed as Colin or Sir Colin:

"Just Colin, none of that other rubbish."

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