I liked university. A lot. Surrounded by books, and no great responsibility beyond writing the occasional essay which I would dash off in an all-nighter just before the due date. (Note to LittleDavys: ignore the above. It does not apply to you.)
I finally realised that I had to leave the academy when some of the students I tutored in American history confessed they were born in the 1970s. It made me feel terribly old and decrepit.
Now think about Keven Mealamu, the oldest member of the current All Blacks squad. He was born on 20 March 1979, and is now aged 36. He will be the last All Black to have been born in the 1970s.
It’s remarkable that his body has stood up so well to the rigours of the hooker position. He may not be the number 1 pick any more, but he adds a huge amount to the squad with his leadership, experience and attitude. My guess is that Shag will take him to RWC2015 for those things, and he’ll play through most of the pool matches. Probably not in the knockout stage where Dane Coles and Codie Taylor will be preferred, with Mealamu ready to step in for injury.
Here’s the thing: Codie Taylor was born on 31 March 1991. He is now aged 24, a full 12 years younger than his senior team-mate.
When Mealamu made his All Blacks debut, against Wales in Cardiff on 23 November 2002, young Codie was 11 years old. Hell, he probably wasn’t even allowed to stay up to watch the match.