Simon Plumb is a journalist for the Herald on Sunday

Sir Colin Meads confident he's beating cancer

Rugby legend Sir Colin Meads says he is winning his fight against cancer.

Speaking about his health for the first time in months, the iconic All Blacks lock has lifted the lid on his toughest battle yet - and how he's refused to surrender, even when experts warned the odds were overwhelmingly against him.

Sir Colin, 80, has revealed how a doctor grimly delivered him his life expectancy after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer diagnosis in August. In trademark style, Sir Colin took it as a challenge.

In an exclusive interview with Newstalk ZB's Tony Veitch, Sir Colin says the cancer has not taken hold as expected, with doctors stunned by his progress and the man himself believing he's overcoming the illness.

I have another check-up next week but I'm doing real good. I've got experts all over the world giving me information. I think I'm on my way to recovery,
Sir Colin Meads

"I was upset a little bit with one of the specialists when he gave me a time... A lifespan. I just said to myself 'well, I'll beat that'.

"They can't quite believe it, but there's not too much happening, that's what they're telling me, and apparently, it should have been."

Sir Colin, whose name had to be changed on his hospital door because he was getting too tired to handle all the visitors, says he continues to be inundated by well-wishers and advice.

But it's one mysterious recommendation which Sir Colin says is the secret.

"I've got one that I think is working, don't ask me what's in it, but I call it 'Taranaki Water'. A fella arrived at my door with this stuff and I reckon it's doing me real good," he said.

"He calls it a cure for cancer and he said 'would you take it?' This is a dairy farmer, he's got the magic touch I reckon."

Happy to be home in his beloved Te Kuiti, Sir Colin says he's enjoying life and mixing with the locals. This week it was announced Sir Colin is to be cast in bronze in the main street of his King Country hometown.

"You know everyone up here and the kids all say 'gidday Pinetree' and I haven't a bloody clue who they are but they're good kids. I just love it here," he said.

"It's just nice to know the cheeky little buggers call me Pinetree. It's good."

Sir Colin's cancer diagnosis came in August when he was admitted to Waikato Hospital over concerns with a kidney illness.

The man who played 133 games for the All Blacks from 1957-1971 and was named 'Player of The Century' in 1999 said the diagnosis has been "tough" on his family.

"It's bloody hard for Verna, the kids and grandkids," he said.

The news prompted Prime Minister John Key to pay tribute Sir Colin at a press conference shortly after the diagnosis was announced.

"Colin Meads is probably the most iconic New Zealander I can think of," Key said. "He is a great man and I think the nation loves him dearly."

- Herald on Sunday

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