Book a new look of All Blacks

Manawatu Guardian - - NEWS - By MERANIA KARAURIA

Rugby jour­nal­ist Peter Bills ap­proached Steve Tews at the 2015 World Cup to ask if he could write a book about the All Blacks.

Steve’s re­sponse was that they got a half dozen re­quests a week to write a book.

“I said to Steve that what­ever you do, get some­one from out­side New Zealand who will bring a fresh per­spec­tive.”

Peter’s book The Jersey, the se­crets be­hind the most suc­cess­ful team, was launched this month, and on Thurs­day he’ll be head­ing home to Nice in France.

He notes in the book that he be­lieves The Jersey “of­fers fresh per­spec­tives, dif­fer­ent an­gles and orig­i­nal ideas con­cern­ing rugby in this unique country and a new look at the most suc­cess­ful pe­riod in New Zealand rugby his­tory”.

Peter said the play­ers he spoke with dur­ing the writ­ing of The Jersey were “com­pletely open . . . tremen­dous”.

“From 2004 to now, the All Blacks are quite ex­tra­or­di­nary.”

Peter first came to New Zealand in 1975 and has since been cross­ing the world fol­low­ing the game and ev­ery World Cup since. He’s known and spo­ken to a lot of the play­ers and lists some of the greats who wore the jersey.

“Graeme Mourie and Sir Brian Lo­chore were gentle­men”, and Sir Colin Meads gave his last ma­jor in­ter­view to Peter.

Peter re­mem­bers the game at Twick­en­ham in the 60s when a player re­marked that he “played on the wing and the for­wards kept the ball all the time”. And the loss at the 2007 World Cup was be­cause the team, by their own ac­knowl­edg­ment, “were ar­ro­gant, some­thing that is not tol­er­ated by coach Steve Hansen”.

How­ever, a key el­e­ment to the All Black’s cur­rent suc­cess is hu­mil­ity, says Peter. “The All Blacks are hum­ble and good role mod­els.”

Peter spoke with Beau­den Bar­rett on Satur­day night be­fore the Bledis­loe Cup.

“He was grate­ful that there was a spe­cific ac­knowl­edg­ment to him in the book. He did not have to say any­thing to me ahead of the big game.”

And what are the se­crets to the team that 1984-6 Wal­la­bies cap­tain An­drew Slack said were an “enor­mous sport­ing en­tity”.

Peter quotes Dan Carter who said there were no se­crets: “Peo­ple go look­ing all around the world . . . but we con­stantly re­peat our skills.”

There’s the “mag­nif­i­cent” school sys­tem, says Peter, echoed by for­ward Jerome Kaino who says the qual­ity of the young play­ers is pro­duced at grass­roots.

There’s All Blacks wing Waisake Na­holo who came to New Zealand and found kids be­ing un­grate­ful; “they want mo­bile phones, cars, ev­ery­thing” . . .

Peter spoke and writes about the in­flu­ence of the Poly­ne­sian play­ers who brought change to the game.

Bar­rett is quoted in the book: “Pasi­fika play­ers do bring that raw phys­i­cal power. But it’s more than that. I think it’s the abil­ity just to pick up a ball and know how to play footy. It’s even more in­stinc­tive to them than any­one else.”

Peter Bills gets in­side the jersey.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.