Ian "Kamo" Jones and Sid Going have said the legacy Sir Colin Meads has left is a strong and varied one.
Meads passed away at the age of 81. Last year he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and in combative style vowed to "beat the bastard".
The former King Country lock played 55 tests for the All Blacks and is widely regarded as one of the greatest to ever grace a rugby field.
Jones said the fellow second rower was a great man.
"The guy was everything people say he was and more," he said.
"He just had time for everyone. He was a very proud All Black. He told us daily what it meant to be an All Black. He lived those values 24/7 and he was still playing at 71.
"One of the things he taught all of us was when you wear that black jersey, you wear it for life and you live those values for life. He epitomised that like all the greats. He was a pretty special guy to be around.
"It's a sad day for the family. Our thoughts go out to them but they will be proud of what their father, grandfather and great-grandfather did in his life."
Meads was All Blacks manager for two years while Jones was playing (1994 and 1995) but he had a lot to do with him in the years that followed.
Jones said he and the fellow second rower talked about the game, but it wasn't about the physical tasks of lock play.
"We didn't talk so much about the details of the position but what he talked to us a lot about was the preparation and the mindset needed to play the position," he said.
"It wasn't about the details about the jump or the push or tackle. It was just the mindset and coming from a guy like that it's golden information.
"You get to live a little of what he was thinking and that always helped when we played and it was really powerful stuff."
Meads leaves behind a legacy that goes beyond the fabled exploits within the confines of a rugby field.
Jones said the 133-match All Black showed everyone what it meant to wear the black jersey with pride.
"The legacy he'll leave is how special that jersey is, how it can change and shape your life and how you live your life once you wear that black jersey," he said.
"His legacy will be very powerful for not only All Blacks of the future but All Blacks like me who have been before. What you have to do on and off the field to honour that jersey is something he lived.
"Another legacy he will leave sportspeople is the importance of time. Giving people, communities, charities and organisations time and he always did that.
"He shared his time with countless people and that's certainly something I've learnt from him."
Right at home
Sid Going, a former All Black team-mate of Meads, said he made him feel right at home when he came into representative sides.
"When I was playing, he and his brother, Stan, made me feel very welcome in the North Island side. When I made the All Blacks, he was a stalwart and someone I definitely looked up to," he said.
"Me being a young fella I didn't associate with him a lot off the field but he definitely has been a real ambassador for rugby.
"He'll always be known a hero, a stalwart, a man absolutely committed to the game and was an example to all. He will be sadly missed."
Meads' funeral will take place in Te Kuiti next week and is expected to draw up to 4000 people.
Sir Colin is survived by Lady Verna Meads and their children, Karen, Kelvin, Rhonda, Glynn and Shelley, their 14 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.