Ronald William Meadows
Ron Meadows was a tough as nails, resilient, no-nonsense hooker with a highly effective technique who had a distinguished but far too short a Test career. Educated at North Sydney Boys’ High School, Meadows spent four years studying engineering at Duntroon Military College before he completed his degree at the University of Sydney.
Meadows came to prominence when he moved from Sydney to Newcastle in 1957 and linked up with the long standing and very successful Wanderers Rugby Football Club. That year he was selected to represent Newcastle against the touring All Blacks when the local team was far from disgraced in their 9-20 defeat. Meadows also played the Barbarians and South Australia that season. His performances led to selection for New South Wales Country where he caught the attention of the Australian selectors who included him in the final trials for the Fourth Wallabies tour to the British Isles, France, and North America.
Meadows was chosen in the 30-man squad as backup to Randwick’s Jim Brown, played 19 of the 41 games, and realised a great ambition when he scored try in the match against Leinster.
Brown retired at the end of the tour and in 1958 Meadows made his Test debut against the Maori in Brisbane. He played strongly in that series to retain his position as the first choice hooker for the subsequent tour to New Zealand. Meadows’ combination with Keith Ellis and Peter Dunn, the two debutants from Manly, was one of the main strengths in a team which was written off before departure but surprised the pundits by their performances.
In the 2nd Test at Lancaster Park the All Blacks struggled against a fired-up Wallabies who had been humbled 3-25 at Athletic Park. A stunned Christchurch crowd witnessed one of the biggest shocks in Test rugby of that time. The forwards, led by the impressive front row, outplayed their more highly rated opponents as they disabled the All Blacks’ key attacking weapon, a sound set piece. The Wallaby defence was a vast improvement than it had been at Wellington and All Black over-confidence was gradually replaced with something akin to panic. Australia grew throughout the match and thoroughly deserved their 6-3 victory. As he left the field Meadows was collared by a radio interviewer who asked him for a comment. The reply was typical Meadows: ‘We beat the bastards. You little beauty.’
Meadows retired at the conclusion of the tour to concentrate on his work as a civil engineer. Ron Meadows played six Tests for Australia in a one-year international career.
Meadows won his first Test cap propped by Bob Davidson and Gerry Vaughan in the 1st Test, 15-14 victory over the Maori at the Exhibition Ground. Kerry Larkin came in for Davidson to join Meadows and Vaughan in the final two Tests of that series. Meadows started alongside Keith Ellis and Peter Dunn in all three away Tests against New Zealand.