Sir Colin Meads pleased with IRB recognition
After a nine-year wait, Sir Colin Meads will be inducted into the International Rugby Board Hall of Fame this month.
The 55-test All Black is widely regarded as New Zealand greatest ever player, and will finally get the recognition from international rugby's governing body.
He will be inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame before the All Blacks test against Australia in Auckland on August 23.
It was announced yesterday that the IRB Hall of Fame and the International Rugby Hall of Fame will merge this year to create one definitive rugby hall of fame.
The merger will see 37 greats of the game not all ready included in the IRB Hall of Fame inducted, creating a unique record of those who have excited and inspired rugby fans.
While New Zealand rugby fans have been bemused at Meads' exclusion from the IRB Hall of Fame over the past nine years, since it was introduced, there has been no concern in the Meads household.
''It never ever worried me, I didn't give a damn if I was in it,'' Meads said.
''But certainly, it's nice to be recognised. It's an honour that's bestowed on you that you don't really ask for, but it's good.''
That it has taken nine years and the merger of two rugby halls of fame for Meads to make the IRB Hall of Fame is still bemusing, and it's about time.
''A lot of fellas that were in the Rugby Hall of Fame weren't in the IRB Hall of Fame, and they seemed to be at odds with each other. That's the best way to put it.
''One of the reasons that was told to me was that I was sent off in Scotland, and no fella in the Hall of Fame should have been sent off. I don't know whether that's right or not.''
Meads will be joined in the IRB Hall of Fame by former All Blacks Sean Fitzpatrick, Grant Fox, George Nepia, John Kirwan and Graham Mourie.
IRB chairman Bernard Lapasset said recognising those who have shaped the game on and off the field was important to the IRB.
''Over the next year and a half we will be inducting some of the greats of our game into the IRB Hall of Fame at events around the globe, culminating at Rugby World Cup 2015,'' he said.
''I would like to thank the owners of the International Rugby Hall of Fame for their support in creating one definitive celebration of the sport.''
John Hart, chairman of Global Rugby Enterprises, which owns the International Rugby Hall of Fame, said he is delighted to reach an agreement with the IRB.
''In doing so we have preserved the history of the International Rugby Hall of Fame by ensuring the induction of our 37 inductees who are not already in the IRB Hall of Fame.
''We wish the IRB Hall of Fame continued success.''
The integration process will sit alongside the 2014 programme of inductions that will also recognise pioneers and greats from the women's game and some of the great characters from the beginning of the 20th century.
AT A GLANCE
The full list of inductees is: Fred Allen, Bill Beaumont, Phil Bennett, Naas Botha, Gordon Brown, Don Clarke, Gerald Davies, Mervyn Davies, Morne du Plessis, Ieuan Evans, Sean Fitzpatrick, Grant Fox, Danie Gerber, Tim Horan, Andy Irvine, Carwyn James, Barry John, Michael Jones, Tom Kiernan, Ian Kirkpatrick, John Kirwan, Jason Leonard, Michael Lynagh, Bill McLaren, Terry McLean, Jo Maso, Colin Meads, Graham Mourie, Hennie Muller, George Nepia, Gwyn Nicholls, Jean-Pierre Rives, Fergus Slattery, Joost van der Westhuizen, Wavell Wakefield, JPR Williams, Keith Wood.