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Te Kuiti honours Sir Colin Meads

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    20 Jun 2017     Getty Images

The former lock first played for the All Blacks from his King Country base in 1957 continuing until 1971 and fashioned a 55-Test career that saw him named New Zealand's Rugby Player of the Century.
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Colin and his All Black locking partner and brother Stan unveiled the statue in front of a collection of rugby and civic dignitaries including former team-mates Sir Brian Lochore, Earle Kirton, Bryan Williams, Tane Norton and Richie Guy while the manager of the British & Irish Lions John Spencer was also in attendance.

Lochore said Colin Meads liked people and especially people who liked talking sensibly about rugby and anything in general and doing it over a beer.

Stan Meads said there had been some doubt Colin would attend the unveiling but the day before it was scheduled he had asked Colin, who has been suffering ill health, what he would be wearing.

"He said, 'I'm putting my suit on', so I knew then straight away he was coming. There was no way he wasn't going to be here."

Colin said being selected as an All Black and then being able to get out to play had been highlights of his career. He added that in a reflection of times being changed he would be named in the All Blacks after trials in Wellington and then would have to return home to play a couple of weeks of club rugby before undertaking Test matches.

"But the greatest moment is being picked and putting the jersey on," he said.

The statue was made by Auckland artist Natalie Stamilla.

The unveiling was part of the opening of the Gallagher Meads Brothers' Exhibition in Te Kuiti. The project has been led by the town's Legendary Te Kuiti committee (LTK).

LTK marketing officer Yvette Ronaldson said: "We have had wonderful support for this project from a range of businesses, the Waitomo District Council, run fans and local people, and we are grateful to everyone who has helped in some way."