Mealamu excited by next generation All Blacks

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The announcement of the 2020 All Blacks squad and the prospect of two Bledisloe Cup Tests and a Rugby Championship were a chance to assess the most recent additions to the national side.


Speaking on the All Blacks Podcast, Mealamu is excited by the young players to have emerged in the traditional post-World Cup era.


He said it was great to see the emotion of making the All Blacks still having an impact on players and their parents.


It was all a little different to when he learned of his elevation in status. It was during an Auckland celebration on Waiheke Island for winning the National Provincial Championship in 2002. All the side were listening to a transistor radio delivering the news.


"It was pretty amazing to hear it [his name], and I can still remember it," he said.


While he enjoyed watching emerging players excel, he especially enjoyed watching them develop more in the coaching environment at Test level.


"You don't see a young All Black come through and fall away. They come through even better than what you've seen from them already," he said.

The growth in belief that occurred with players was obvious, not only in rugby but in life generally, and it was as simple as providing a voice of encouragement for children in whatever they were doing.


"These are things we can take into everything we do, whether we are parents or bosses, coaches or at the gym, give people self-belief," he said.


That was the sort of thing that had young people jumping out of their skins and performing at even higher levels, he said.


As a former Blues stalwart, he said he had enjoyed the revival the team has undergone. While they played differently compared to his era, there were elements of the Blues style in their approach.


"You can see a Blues style that you can recognise and I love the way they are playing. They're playing free, you can see smiles on their faces again. They're playing physical, and they are showing backbone when they defend their line.


"You feel proud as a former player when you watch a team that you love and have so much hope for," he said.


Mealamu could relate to Caleb Clarke's development as he was close with his father, former All Black Eroni, and could claim to have held Clarke Junior when he was a baby.


Clarke senior had also been an influence in his rugby career, although he was finishing just as Mealamu was starting. But he had also helped him ensure he held off some of the post-career physical complaints by telling him to keep moving to stave off the onset of arthritis.


Listen to the All Blacks Podcast with Keven Mealamu on the following audio platforms:






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