Presented by John Kirwan, this film looks at the 1990 decision of Kirwan's young All Black teammate Matthew Ridge to ‘defect’ from rugby, to play professional league for the Manly Sea Eagles. Ridge had been the uncapped understudy to 1989 World Player of the Year John Gallagher. Ironically Gallagher converted to league shortly after Ridge, news that Ridge receives while preparing for his league debut. Ridge went on to captain the Kiwis. His code shift began a trend that transformed union and league in NZ; union turned pro in 1995. Ric (Sports Cafe) Salizzo directs.
Host Bob Parker opens the book on the life of 81 year old George Nepia. Considered by many to be the greatest rugby fullback ever, Nepia was the star of the 1924 All Blacks, the legendary 'Invincibles'. At just 19, he played every one of their 32 games as the team went unbeaten through the British Isles. Helping celebrate Nepia's life are legendary rugby journalist TP McLean and two of NZ rugby's other stellar fullbacks, Don Clark and Bob Scott. The Invincibles' kiwi mascot makes a special appearance, and Nepia performs his hit song 'Under a Maori Moon'. Nepia died later that year.
These short profiles of then-current All Blacks were made for TV3 as part of a pre-Rugby World Cup 2007 series. Each involves an interview with the player in a formative context for them, eg. their hometown, club ground, old school or favourite surf beach. The interviewer is James Gemmell, and interviewees included tighthead prop Carl Hayman, flanker Jerry Collins, hooker Anton Oliver and fullback Mils Muliaina. The players are relaxed and surprisingly candid, as Oliver says when reflecting on the burden of captaincy: “I was sh*tting myself for a while.”
Stéphane Le Goff and Frédéric Khan's documentary is an intimate first-person journey through the life and times of the late All Black icon — charting a meteoric rise from an abusive Māngere childhood to his arrival as rugby’s first international superstar, while managing a rare and serious kidney disorder. This excerpt reveals Lomu’s readiness on the eve of his devastating performance against England in the 1995 World Cup, with English fullback Mike Catt offering his recollection of that try. The 90-minute documentary debuted in NZ on Sky, and later screened on Māori Television.
This silent 16mm gem shows two legendary All Black teams in action. The film opens with a roll-call of the returning ‘Invincibles’, who — starring fullback George Nepia — were unbeaten on their international tour of 1924/5; and then features match highlights. The second clip opens with rare footage of the 1905 ‘Originals’; before returning to packed 1925 Twickenham for a test match, where the Invincibles perform “the famous Māori War Cry”, show off the Kiwi mascot (intended as a gift for the first team to beat them), meet the Prince of Wales, and defeat England.
This pre-Rugby World Cup 2007 interview follows All Black fullback Mils Muliaina as he revisits the grounds of his alma mater, Southland Boys High in Invercargill (Mils is one of 21 All Blacks from Southland Boys). He talks about his family’s migration from Samoa to Invercargill, and heads south to Bluff to score some oysters with the film crew. Muliaina also talks about finding out via the six o’clock news that he was in the All Blacks, recalls the game he remembers most fondly, and discusses his fondness for rolling his rrrs.
This National Film Unit newsreel offers a wide-ranging look at ‘the national game’ in 1966. A muddy potted history (scored to rugby folk song ‘On the Ball’) rakes from the age grades to a Ranfurly Shield match, to the apex: the All Blacks. Ex-All Black fullback Bob Scott talks about the need for ‘four stone bantams’ to enjoy the game, while fellow AB Don ‘The Boot’ Clarke discusses the problems for a country player; Wellington College’s 1st XV plays a ‘traditional’ against Nelson in front of a mass haka on the terraces; and club players explain why they play (“it’s a manly game”).
From a career in print journalism and public relations that began in his teens, Gordon Dryden became a familiar face on New Zealand television in the mid 70s. Earning himself a reputation as a tough interviewer, Dryden hosted coverage of the 1975 election before presenting Friday Conference. A 1991 TV series on education would lead to book The Learning Revolution, which sold in the millions.