Rugby world pays tribute to 'absolute legend' Sir Colin Meads

All Blacks great Sir Colin Meads, pictures at an unveiling of a statue in his honour earlier this year, has died aged 81. Hannah Peters/Getty Images

The rugby world is in mourning after the passing of All Blacks great Sir Colin Meads at the age of 81.

Tributes have been pouring in on Twitter for the 55-Test All Black nicknamed 'Pinetree'.

All Blacks captain Kieran Read and coach Steve Hansen paid their respect as they left Sydney following their Bledisloe Cup win on Saturday.

Fellow New Zealand great Dan Carter woke to the news in France.

The tributes from prominent figures stretched further than rugby. Former Black Caps captain Brendon McCullum said that Meads was a "great New Zealander".

New Zealand's Prime Minister Bill English took the opportunity to salute Meads. In a series of tweets, English said that Meads "represented what it means to be a New Zealander" while passing on his condolences to Meads' wife Lady Verna and the rest of Meads' friends and family.

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Tributes have also come in for Meads internationally. Former England captain Will Carling, former Springboks captain John Smit and current South African international Ruan Combrinck paid their tributes.

Finally, the New Zealand Herald released this touching video.