PASSED: Former All Black great Colin Meads has died from cancer
PASSED: Former All Black great Colin Meads has died from cancer ANDREW CORNAGA

All Black great 'Pinetree' Meads dies

COLIN Meads, a tough All Blacks lock hailed as New Zealand's greatest rugby player of the 20th century, has died after a year-long battle with cancer. He was 81.

In Australia Meads was notorious for ending the career of Wallaby captain Ken Catchpole in 1968.

Meads grabbed and wrenched Catchpole's leg while he was pinned under other players in a ruck, tearing his hamstring off the bone, and severely rupturing his groin muscles.

Meads, nicknamed Pinetree, had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last August.

He played 55 Tests among his 133 games for New Zealand between 1957 and 1971.

A sheep farmer from the rugged King Country district of New Zealand's North Island, Meads had great strength, stamina and toughness.

He was 1.92 metres tall and weighed 100kg, considered the measurements of a giant in rugby at the time.

News Corp Australia

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