Capping Ceremony to honour one of world rugby's biggest names     09 Sep 2009    

Newly knighted All Blacks legend Sir Colin Meads will for the second time this year receive a long overdue honour.

On Friday evening in Hamilton, Meads will receive the Test cap he earned when he took the field for the All Blacks against Australia in Sydney in 1957.

Known by his nickname, “Pinetree,” around the rugby world, Meads played an astonishing 133 games for the All Blacks, including 55 Tests. He captained the All Blacks 11 times, including leading the team in four Tests.

But it is for his first Test that he and 28 other All Blacks will be acknowledged in Hamilton, including his brother Stan Meads.

Stan, who together with Colin first honed his skills in their backyard in Te Kuiti, played 30 games including 15 Tests, for the All Blacks.

Another of a famous pair of brothers, Ian Clarke, will be honoured on Friday. Clarke, the brother of All Blacks fullback and kicking legend Don and one of five brothers to play for Waikato, played 83 times in the black jersey and captained the team on 12 occasions. He passed away in 1997.

In addition to the Meads, who both played at lock, a number of other All Blacks second rowers will be acknowledged in Hamilton including Mark Cooksley, Steve Gordon and Buck Anderson.

Cooksley, who was one of the tallest All Blacks, debuted against the World XV together with number 8 Arran Pene, who will also be capped on Friday.

The All Blacks Capping Ceremony, the last of six being held around the country in 2009, occurs on the eve of what could be the decisive Investec Tri Nations Test match between the All Blacks and Springboks at Waikato Stadium on Saturday.

Thirteen of the newly-capped players will be acknowledged again at Saturday’s Test match at Waikato Stadium, forming a guard of honour to welcome the teams to the field.

Hamilton Capping Ceremony

The following All Blacks or their family representatives will receive caps in Hamilton:

Player & Province^ Debut All Blacks vs. Venue
Keith Arnold* (Waikato) 14 June 1947 Australia Brisbane
John McLean* (K Country) 14 June 1947 Australia Brisbane
Hugh McLaren* (Waikato) 6 Sept 1952 Australia Christchurch
Ian Clarke* (Waikato) 19 Dec 1953 Wales Cardiff
Ronald Hemi* (Waikato) 19 Dec 1953 Wales Cardiff
Colin Loader (Wgtn) 9 Jan 1954 Ireland Dublin
Mark Irwin (Otago) 20 Aug 1955 Australia Wellington
Sir Colin Meads (K C’ntry) 25 May 1957 Australia Sydney
Ernest Pickering (Waikato) 6 Sept 1958 Australia Christchurch
Ronald Horsley* (Wgtn) 23 July 1960 South Africa Cape Town
Stanley Meads (K C’ntry) 22 July 1961 France Auckland
Thomas Heeps* (Wgtn) 26 May 1962 Australia Brisbane
Anthony Steel (Cant) 16 July 1966 British & Irish Lions Dunedin
Alan McNaughton (BoP) 26 June 1971 British & Irish Lions Dunedin
Graham Whiting (K C’ntry) 19 Aug 1972 Australia Wellington
Christopher Fawcett (Auck)14 Aug 1976 South Africa Bloemfontein
Perry Harris (Manawatu) 4 Sept 1976 South Africa Cape Town
Murray Taylor (Waikato) 7 July 1979 France Christchurch
John Fleming (Wgtn) 10 Nov 1979 Scotland Edinburgh
Geoffrey Hines (Waikato) 12 July 1980 Australia Sydney
Bruce Smith (Waikato) 16 June 1984 France Christchurch
Brent Anderson (W Bush) 9 Aug 1986 Australia Wellington
Mark Cooksley (C-M’kau) 18 Apr 1992 World XV Christchurch
Arran Pene (Otago) 18 Apr 1992 World XV Christchurch
Matthew Cooper (Waikato) 6 Jun 1992 Ireland Wellington
Steve Gordon (Waikato) 20 Nov 1993 Scotland Edinburgh
Mark Allen (Taranaki) 31 July 1993 Samoa Auckland
Scott McLeod (Waikato) 7 June 1996 Samoa Napier
Adrian Cashmore (Auck) 22 June 1996 Scotland Auckland

^ Province refers to the province the player was playing for at the time of their Test debut.
* Family members of those players who have passed away will collect the caps on their behalf.

Waikato features prominently with 11 players picked from the province to make their All Blacks debuts. King Country has four in total, including the Meads brothers, as does Wellington. Auckland and Otago have two players each while Taranaki, Manawatu, Canterbury, Bay of Plenty, Counties Manukau and Wairarapa Bush all have one All Black honoured,

Guard of Honour
At least 13 of the players will be on hand at Waikato Stadium on Saturday night to form a guard of honour for the All Blacks and Springboks as they take the field for their vital Investec Tri Nations clash.

About All Blacks Test caps
A player’s first appearance in a Test match for the All Blacks has traditionally been rewarded with a Test cap. However, along with international rugby itself, the capping tradition was interrupted by the Second World War and was not re-introduced until June 1997. In December 2008, the New Zealand Rugby Union announced it would hold a series of events in 2009 , 2010 and, if necessary, 2011, to cap more than 400 former All Blacks who did not receive their caps during that period.