Meads confused about modern game
May 22, 2001
New Zealand's greatest rugby player is confused. "Where's our game going," All Blacks legend Colin Meads asked a meeting of Taranaki farmers in Hawera on Monday.
"When I played, the standard literature on the team bus was Western novels and the odd comic. Now it's brochures on how to invest your money. It must be very stressful for them," he joked.
The All Blacks' 11-strong management team also confuses Meads. "I was on a panel that assessed last year's All Blacks coaches," he said."We were told that among the 11 staff was a biomechanist. We had no idea what one of those does.
"(All Blacks head coach) Wayne Smith told us he studies videos of the players and he was able to pinpoint why Anton Oliver sometimes threw the ball into the lineout crooked."
Meads said former All Blacks coach Fred Allen must have been something of a biomechanist. Allen told a certain player if he threw it in crooked one more time he was out of the team.
"He did and Allen told him to go away. At the next year's All Blacks trials that bloke could throw the ball in straight."
The All Blacks team's dietician perplexes the man called Pinetree, and so do the water carriers. "In one match last year eight water-bottle runners ran on the field and gave drinks to the players when someone was injured in the first 30 seconds of the game.
"Thirty seconds - hell they must have been thirsty. When I played we got a piece of orange at halftime, and if you were quick you got two."
Touch judges also annoy him. "Boy do they give you a guts' ache! Last year when there was a bit of a fight in a Test match a touch judge ran on the field to break it up. Hell, in our day he would have been discreetly knocked over and told he doesn't belong there."
On the 30-strong All Blacks training squad named Sunday, Meads said Waikato lock Royce Wills was unlucky to miss out. "Last year it was said we were struggling in the tight five. Well we must be doing all right this year to leave Willis out. He's been playing really well."
Meads also questioned the need for a 30-man squad, which will be cut to 22 once the Test team are decided ahead of the year's first Test, against Samoa on June 16.
"When I played you were either in or out. Now they don't know where they are. I feel sorry for the poor buggers that miss out." - Sapa-NZPA
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