In 1967 Colin toured the UK as part of arguably the finest New Zealand team in history, though his trip was marred slightly when he received his marching orders against Scotland at Murrayfield, only the second time a New Zealander had been sent off in a test. However, the most infamous moment of his career came in the first test against Australia in 1968 in Sydney. With New Zealand leading 19-3, quicksilver Wallaby scrum-half Ken Catchpole was lying in a ruck over the ball unable to move from the weight of players above him. Meads, unaware of the half back's predicament, grabbed Catchpole's outstretched leg and yanked it sideways in an effort to shift the Aussie off the ball. The result was a horrific career ending injury for Catchpole which saw his hamstring torn free from the bone and severe rupturing of his groin muscles.
Although Catchpole held no animosity towards Meads, the act haunted the New Zealander for years, and he was treated by many Australians with the kind of hatred usually reserved for mass murderers. That dark incident aside, Meads generally had the reputation of being a fair player, though one who would use all the tricks at his disposal to get one over on the opposition. Many tried to exact vengeance on Pinetree as a result of his skullduggery, but nearly all failed. Of these was Russell Fairfax, the long haired golden boy of Australian rugby in the early 1970s. In a game against King Country in 1972, the slightly built fly-half responded to Meads pulling his hair by jumping off the ground and hitting the New Zealander with a flurry of punches screaming "This one's for Kenny Catchpole!". Fairfax met with the same response that John Gainsford had twelve years previously, and later recalled that his blows were so ineffectual he may as well have been trying to hit a tank.
In the 1970 South African tour Meads was the victim himself when his arm was intentionally broken in a provincial game, thus missing the first two tests and New Zealand went on to lose their first series for a decade. By 1971 Meads was 35, and not the player of old, but certainly still worth his place in the side and captained New Zealand against the touring British Lions. Colin was understandably devastated to lose a series he felt should have been won, but was noble in defeat and in a memorable speech saluted the Lions' great achievement. In retirement Meads continued to play a prominent role as a selector, coach and guru. He was struck off the NZRFU selection panel in 1986 for coaching the New Zealand Cavaliers, but later returned to the fold as New Zealand team manager.
His views on the modern game were forthright - in the professional era he believed rugby was losing sight of its traditional virtues such as comradeship and humility, and the idea that someone would need to be paid for wearing the Silver Fern was a complete anathema to him. For Meads, being an All Black carried with it a unique kudos, an honour that should be regarded with the utmost respect. Such was the way he felt that he would never train in an All Black jersey, for in his opinion to do so would be to desecrate the tradition. From his own career, one of his greatest friends was Ireland and British Lions captain Willie John McBride with whom he had duelled many times. Ironically though, McBride was one of the few to provide a match for the All Black legend, toppling Pinetree with a mighty blow in the 1963 test between Ireland and New Zealand at Lansdowne Road! (Jon Collins)