Billy Meakes made a huge success of his debut season with the Giltinis and will be a key figure again in 2022.
Meakes grew up in Sydney’s northern beaches and attended rugby nursery St Joseph’s College Hunters Hill. The centre was a part of the 2011 Australia U20s team that finished third at the U20s World Championships. Meakes had to wait for his professional opportunity after stints in Sydney’s Shute Shield club competition. Eventually, his chance came abroad.
In 2013, Meakes moved to England and began playing with local side Clifton in Bristol City. Later that year, Meakes joined Gloucester, first on and academy contract and then as a fully-fledged squad player. After nearly three seasons with Gloucester, playing under Aussie Laurie Fisher, Meakes was granted a release to return to Australia and play with the Western Force.
Meakes’ UK experience showed in his Super Rugby return and he quickly made a stamp on the Southern Hemisphere competition. Meakes’ form with the Force put him on the Wallabies radar. In 2018, Meakes was among a host of Force players who moved to Melbourne in the wake of the axing of the WA side from Super Rugby. Meakes continued to perform for the Rebels, though some injuries interrupted his 2018 and 2019 seasons. Meakes finished 2020 on a short term deal with London Irish.
Meakes was named MLR’s Back of the Year in rousing recognition of his influence as a forceful runner, hard-on-the-ball jackal, strong defender and key figure in attack.
Just how valuable he is was demonstrated when he played a matchwinning role as an emergency flanker in a win over the San Diego Legion.