Wellington - Legendary All Blacks hardman Colin Meads believes he is winning his battle with cancer with a mystery "cure" helping him defy medical predictions to stay alive.
The 80-year-old, in his first interview since being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in August, said the cancer had not taken hold as expected and he believed he was beating the illness.
"I was upset a little bit with one of the specialists when he gave me a time... A lifespan. I just said to myself 'well, I'll beat that'," he told Newstalk ZB radio on Saturday.
"I have another check-up next week but I'm doing real good. I've got experts all over the world giving me information. I think I'm on my way to recovery.
"They can't quite believe it, but there's not too much happening, that's what they're telling me, and apparently, it should have been."
The 1.92 metre Meads, nicknamed Pinetree, credited his improvement to a mystery potion.
"Don't ask me what's in it, but I call it 'Taranaki Water'. A fella arrived at my door with this stuff and I reckon it's doing me real good," he said.
"He calls it a cure for cancer and he said 'would you take it?' This is a dairy farmer, he's got the magic touch I reckon."
When news that Meads had cancer was made public, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key described him as "probably the most iconic New Zealander".
The lock played 133 games for the All Blacks between 1957 and 1971, and was named New Zealand's Player of The Century in 1999.