Sir Colin Meads, understandably, has found it difficult to stay right away from rugby and his beloved King Country Rams.
Battling pancreatic cancer after the August diagnosis, the 80-year-old has, the Herald understands, made unobtrusive appearances at the Rams' two home Heartland Championship games at Te Kuiti's Rugby Park, against Wanganui and North Otago, the latter a 4-4 draw.
It is not known whether he will be well enough to be at the same venue for Saturday's Lochore Cup final featuring the Rams hosting the North Otago in a repeat of the 2015 decider, but he is highly unlikely to be in Whanganui to present the Meads Cup to the winner of the Wanganui-Buller final. Most seasons since the 2006 inauguration of the cup in his honour, Meads has been on hand to present his trophy.
He was immensely proud to see King Country win the 2015 Lochore Cup on his home ground, the union's first provincial title since 1991, when they won the NPC second division and with it promotion to the top tier. He was chairman of the union that season, while his son Glynn featured at lock.
Meads' King Country provincial career spanned 18 seasons (1955-72) and 139 games, running almost parallel to his celebrated 1957-71 time as one of the great All Blacks.