KCRFU Media Release . . . August 8, 2018
WHEN King Country kicks off its Heartland Championship campaign in Te Kuiti this month, the Rams will not only be playing for provincial pride but also to honour the union’s favourite son, Sir Colin Meads.
The legendary lock who passed away on August 20 last year aged 81, after a battle with pancreatic cancer, played 139 games for the maroon and golds making his debut against Counties in 1955 as a 19-year-old.
Perhaps it was a sign of things to come, as the promising young forward scored a try and kicked a drop goal – an unusual feat for a lock.
On Saturday, August 25, Sir Colin’s beloved union – he only ever played for one – will pay tribute to him at his home ground of Rugby Park in the Rams’ first match of the 2018 Heartland campaign against East Coast.
A new sponsorship partnership between the union and Te Kuiti-based civil construction company Inframax, sees the King Country No 5 playing jersey inscribed ‘Remembering Pinetree’ as a tribute to the man many regard as the greatest All Black of all time.
Sir Colin played 133 games for the All Blacks including 55 tests, from 1957-71.
Inframax chief executive Chris Hayward says although the company has previously supported the union, the new partnership was sparked by the company’s desire to acknowledge the town’s greatest legends while also sponsoring the sport many of its employees are passionate about.
“We’re always looking for ways to contribute to the community that we are part of, and sponsoring rugby within the region we service is a great way to do this, particularly when it also gives us the opportunity to honour Sir Colin,” he says.
“It is a great honour to be involved with this match, and we wish the Rams all the very best in the Heartland Championship.”
KCRFU’s general manager Susan Youngman says it is very important to all associated with the union from the youngest Saturday morning players to senior representatives to pay their respects to Sir Colin.
“He did so much for rugby in our community and province for more than 60 years as a player, coach, administrator and supporter.
“No matter where he was in the world, Sir Colin was a King Country man through and through. He had immense pride in Te Kuiti and his union.”
Well known for his immense generosity in supporting charitable causes, Sir Colin’s gift of giving back is not yet over.
“We are extremely fortunate to have a King Country No5 jersey signed by Pinetree, that we are auctioning to raise money to support all of the union’s rep teams,” says Ms Youngman.
“It is a rare piece of memorabilia and I am certain it will generate interest from rugby fans and collectors throughout the country.”
The jersey will be displayed and auctioned during the after-match function at the Waitete Rugby Football Clubrooms – Sir Colin’s club – with phone bids also accepted.
And, to further boost the value of what is indeed a true piece of New Zealand rugby history, Inframax has committed to match the winning bid capped at an undisclosed amount.
“It is incredible that Inframax is going to add even further to their already generous sponsorship, and we are indebted to them for their support,” says Ms Youngman.
“This jersey is truly an amazing piece of rugby memorabilia and I know Sir Colin would be thrilled the proceeds are going to benefit players of all ages.”
Sir Colin’s wife, Lady Meads is humbled by the forthcoming tribute.
“Obviously the No5 jersey is very close to my family’s hearts, and it is lovely that the union and Inframax are remembering Colin in this way.
“It couldn’t be more fitting than a No5 jersey being auctioned, Colin would be very pleased that the money raised will help players of all ages.
“I know King Country has always struggled financially, and it gives me comfort and pleasure that Colin is in a sense still helping them. He would be thrilled.”
Lady Meads says she is planning to attend the match with other members of her family.
For further information, or to place a bid by Aug 25, contact Susan Youngman – Email: Generalmanager@kingcountryrugby.co.nz