All Black legend Sir Colin Meads has died at the age of 81.
Tributes are coming in from all around the world for the legend. The former All Black had been ill for the past few months and was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last August.
Mourners and well-wishers have placed flowers and cards around to statue of Meads that was unveiled back in June in his home town of Te Kuiti.
Meads wore the jersey 133 times in 15 years from 1957 to 1971 he debuted at 20 years old. He played 55 tests and became recognized throughout the world as the face of New Zealand rugby.
At 1.92m and 102kg, he was small by today’s standards but always gave the impression of being a giant and complimented his natural athleticism with rare ferocity. Although he began his international career as a flanker it was a lock that he played most of his rugby.
Meads was 35 when he captained the All Blacks against the Lions in 1971.
Prime Minister Bill English is well aware of the country calling for a state funeral for Meads. English told Mike Hosking it’s a possibility, but the decision lies with Meads’ family.
“I’ve been in contact with the family last night. It’s their preferences that will decide what happens because he’s their Colin, even if we all feel like we own a piece of him,” he said.
As things stand, the funeral will take place in his home town of Te Kuiti next Monday.
Meads leaves behind his wife and five children.