Sunday, December 04, 2005

All Blacks (New Zealand Style)

One of the sports I used to post about on my long-lost NYU website was rugby. Though I rarely see rugby matches on TV nowadays, I do like watching the sport, and especially would enjoy seeing New Zealand's All Blacks, which is that small island nation's premiere national squad, play live. (I'd never really had any burning desire to visit New Zealand until I saw Once Were Warrior and these saw some of these players.) The All Blacks, who aren't really "all black" but do perform the Maori Haka before each match, are favorites to win the next international rugby World Cup, which rolls around in a few years (2007?).

From what I've gleaned from various sites, they've had an amazing year so far, defeating Wales, Ireland, South Africa (whom they also lost to), Fiji, Australia (twice), England, and the British and Irish Lions this year, adding a win just last week over Scotland, in Edinburgh. Their former star, Jonah Lomu, is no longer playing with the squad, but dredlocked, longtime captain Tana Umaga, is still hammering opponents. Here are a few of my favorite recent All Blacks shots (most are from; I'll post more down the road. If you get Once Were Warriors flashbacks, that's not a bad thing! Enjoy!

Saimone Taumoepeau

Keven Mealamu and Rodney So'oialo

Rodney So'oailo

Sitiveni Sivivatu, Maa Allan Nonu, Mils Mulaina, Mose Tuiali'i, and Sione Lauaki

Mose Tuiali'i

Tana Umaga, All Blacks Captain and hard-tackling star

Josevata Rokocoko (or Rokothoko)

(L to R) Getting ready for the scrum machine, Sione Lauaki, John Afoa, Keven Mealamu, and Neemia Tialata

Jonah Lomu, one of the best ever, in his prime (he starred from 1994-2002)


  1. droool . . .

    rugby players are sooooo dreamy . . .

    (Seeing as I went to one of the top rugby high schools in Kenya, I should have a real sports opinion--but those little shorts plumb clear my mind)

  2. One of the few things I'll give the Fox network of stations credit for is getting M and I hooked on rugby. Fox SportsWorld covered the Austrailian teams season, which always ended with the Tri-Nations tourney (AU, ZN, and South Africa), so we got to see the All Blacks (with Jonah still dazzling but toward the end of his career). Sadly a change in our cable service/reshuffling of channels ended our connection to Fox SportsWorld. We keep lobbying for its return. We've also, sadly, never been able to get down to DC to see their team, the Washington Renegades, play. They're a model of gay/straight, white/(still not enough) Men of Color teamwork and interaction.

    And great to see Umaga as Captain of the All Blacks! He was always a very tough competetor.

    I second your reccomendation of Once Were Warriors, a FANTASTIC film, that packs quite an emotional wallop. And some of the characters in the film visually remind me of the Other Half's family and my cousins on my Mother's side.

    PS: That photo of Keven Mealamu and Rodney So'oialo is makes me *weak*! Dayum.....

  3. Keguro, yes they are...! I'm also going to post some photos of the South African national team. I'll look to see if I can find some Kenyan ruggers... :-)

    Reggie, you're right about Fox SportsWorld. I used to get it in Chi and it was part of our mix in NJ too but I think in both places it's no longer part of hte basic package. I'm not at all familiar with the Washington Renegades. Is it a professional or club team? Umaga has been captain for the last two years, I think. Speaking of ONCE WERE WARRIORS, I always keep waiting for similar films about the Maoris, Polynesians, Fijians, Tongans, Wallisians, and Aborigines--the Black folks of Australia and New Zealand--to appear, but while I come across some cheesy ones, I haven't seen too many new and really good ones. Have you come across any? I also find the lack of discussion about the cultural affinities with and impact of Black American, African and Black Diasporic pop culture interesting. Do you know if anyone is writing about this? I once went to a NYU talk where this anthropologist claimed OUTRIGHT that while there were some tenuous cultural links (like the cargo cults, admiration for MLK Jr. etc.), there were no direct genetic links or ties, and he basically tried to construct the Micronesians and Aboriginals of the South Pacific as if they'd developed in a vacuum. My eyes are fooling me, so hello???

  4. ummmm yummy. :) thanks for this, john. I may have to start watching rugby again!

  5. *checks out Priceline for tickets to New Zealand!*