Every man, woman and child in New Zealand (NZ) lives and breathes rugby. It’s a religion. Even Kiwi dogs are crazy about the game. Did you hear about the time when a little old lady saw former Irish and Lions hooker in the street and gave him some advice about his scrummaging technique? Or the time the Canterbury crowd at the New Zealand Cup race day in Christchurch spat on a horse owned by former All Black coach John Hart in disgust at the All Blacks performance at the 1999 Rugby World Cup? Or what about the time the Prime Minister used a police escort to travel at 140km in order to catch a plane to get to the All Blacks test match in Wellington that evening? Ok, the third one is true (no offence Keith, but your story sound spurious at best. And maybe one or two drunken idiots spat in the direction of Hart’s horse, the strangely aptly named ‘Courage under fire’. It’s hard to legislate against stupidity).
It makes a great and easy story, but the truth is a lot of people in NZ really don’t care much for rugby at all. And many more only ever tune in when the All Blacks play. Very few people in NZ watch the Six Nations and virtually no one watches the Heineken Cup (European Rugby Champions Cup if you must) or Aviva Premiership or Pro12. Certainly not a fraction of the numbers in the UK who watch Super Rugby on Sky TV. Read more