Obituary: Bill Meates

All Black. Died aged 79.

Bill Meates played in the legendary New Zealand "Kiwis" Army rugby team.

Greymouth-born Meates made his Canterbury debut in 1943 before war service overseas.

He played 13 matches on the Kiwis' end-of-war tour of Britain and Europe and was later a star of Otago's outstanding post-war Ranfurly Shield team.

He wore the All Black jersey 20 times, playing the first of his seven tests on the 1949 tour of South Africa.

He appeared in the final three tests against the Springboks and all four home internationals against the touring 1950 British Lions before retiring at the age of 27.

Radio commentator Winston McCarthy once described Meates, a big (for his day) and hard-running wing, as a "great-hearted player".

"Never particularly fast but one of the best defensive players I've seen in his covering up. And a heart - oh, as big as a house. He would give everything a go."

Meates' younger brother, Kevin, was an All Black loose forward in two tests against Australia in 1952.

- NZPA

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