All Blacks great Colin Meads

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"He was no nonsense, reliable, hard-working, warm and very generous with his time".

The towering lock was an automatic selection during a golden era of All Black rugby, inspiring fear and admiration in opponents over a 55-test career spanning 14 years from 1957-71.

"I met him a few times and he was always keen to share a beer and have a yarn".

All Blacks Steve Hansen said: "The thoughts of the entire All Blacks team are with Sir Colin's family at this incredibly sad time". Sir Colin was not only a great All Black but also a genuinely good Kiwi bloke.

South African Rugby: "Thoughts and prayers from the Boks and SA Rugby to our friends in New Zealand on the passing of this All Black great".

In a career that spanned nearly two decades, Sir Colin played 361 first class matches, a feat only recently surpassed by Keven Mealamu.

Colin Meads was 81 years old.

Meads is regarded by many as New Zealand's greatest ever rugby player, and was named Player of the Century at the NZRFU Awards dinner in 1999.

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

Meads, nicknamed Pinetree, was knighted in 2009 as recognition of his achievements as a rugby player with the All Blacks and for his charitable work.

- New Zealand captain Kieran Read.

"He goes, aw crikey I don't think I'd last these days having to eat all that pasta and crap beforehand, that was just some of the sort of comments he would always make, he always said it with a bit of jest". I quickly learned the Meads legend was built on physical and mental toughness.

He went into coaching and administration after his playing career and was inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame and New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame.

"Colin and Verna Meads have truly made a difference".

That was good enough for Meads, who ran...

Meads retired in 1971 after captaining the All Blacks against the British & Irish Lions. He had such an influence on my life and many others.

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