John Ernest Charles Meadows

  • 22Caps
  • 572Wallaby Number
  • 72Age
PositionLoosehead Prop
Date Of Birth1 February 1949
Place Of BirthLondon, England
SchoolSheerness Boy's Technical School, Kent, England & Prahran High School, Melbourne
Other ClubsWestern Districts (Brisbane)
ProvinceVIC
Other ProvinceQLD
Debut Test Match1974 Wallabies v New Zealand, 1st Test Sydney
Final Test Match1983 Wallabies v New Zealand, Sydney

Biography

John Meadows was perhaps the most underrated and least heralded prop-forward of the 1970s and early 1980s but he was without any doubt the most accomplished scrummager of his era. His technique was the key as he proved that with a good set of sprigs and a strong spine he could hold his own against anyone. Meadows did all of this in a quiet self-effacing yet fiercely competitive manner. He was incredibly courageous, strong-minded and a quiet achiever.

Born in London, Meadows played a little rugby at Sheerness Boy's Technical School before his family migrated to Melbourne. After school Meadows joined the Kiwis club and began his front row career. Meadows was most fortunate to be mentored in the fine arts of scrummaging by teammate and legendary Welsh and British Lions prop John O’Shea.

In 1974 he was one of the few Victorians to impress in their 3-41 loss to the touring All Blacks and as a consequence earned a Test debut in Sydney. Meadows won selection for the Sixth Wallabies tour to Britain, which as an expatriate held a special significance for him. He played in four of the five Tests but amazingly was not chosen for the match against England.

In 1981 Meadows demonstrated his longevity when selected for the Seventh Wallabies to the U.K. in 1981. The following year he was diagnosed with testicular cancer, fought his way through the disease and within months was back in Wallaby gold against the U.S.A.

Following the one-off Test against New Zealand, Meadows retired from representative football.

John Meadows played 22 Tests for Australia in a 10-year international career.

Highlights

1974

Meadows won his first Test cap at prop alongside fellow debutant Peter Horton and Stuart Macdougall in the 1st Test, 6-11 loss to New Zealand at the S.C.G. He missed the next two Tests against the All Blacks with a back injury. 

1975/76

Meadows played in four of the five Tests - Scotland, Wales, Ireland and the U.S.A. - but missed the England match when Steve Finnane was included.

1976

Meadows started the first and third Tests against Fiji but missed the second Test at Ballymore because he could not arrive in Brisbane early enough, due to personal reasons, in order to prepare for the match. He toured France and Italy at the end of the year and earned caps in each of the internationals against France in combination with Horton and Ron Graham.

1977

The Wallabies did not play a Test match in 1977.

1978

He missed selection for the two home Tests against Wales but was brought back for the tour to New Zealand and played in all three Tests.

1979

Meadows packed down with Bill Ross and Stan Pilecki in both home losses to Ireland.

1981/82

Selected on the Seventh Wallabies tour to Britain, he played in three of the four Home Nations matches in partnership with Bill Ross and Tony D’Arcy.

1982

Meadows was not capped in the home series against Scotland but played in the final two Tests on the tour of New Zealand.

1983

In his final season of international rugby, Meadows started against the U.S.A, in the second Test win over Argentina and in the one-off Bledisloe Cup loss to New Zealand.

John Ernest Charles Meadows