48 / Sir Colin Meads


Colin Meads, born in Cambridge, is perhaps the best-known All Black and the most famous rugby player in the world. He played 133 games (including 55 test matches) for this country between 1957 and 1971, and his physical presence on the rugby field inspired his nickname ‘Pinetree’. In a 1967 game against Scotland he became only the second All Black ordered off in a test – for dangerous play – and during the 1970 tour of South Africa he played on against Eastern Transvaal despite a broken arm. He opposed the sporting boycott of apartheid South Africa, and went to that country as coach of the rebel Cavaliers team in 1986. In 2001 he was made a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (the equivalent of a knighthood) and eight years later he accepted the title ‘Sir’.

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