While the All Blacks don’t want to be packing their bags at the Rugby World Cup on Sunday, at least they’ll do it themselves. The New Zealand rugby side have long had a policy of handling their own baggage duties and that’s continued in Japan – earning themselves some admirers.
While I’ll be rooting for Ireland on Saturday to beat these guys, I do think the picture speaks volumes,” wrote Dr Tim Rice of Ashford University in the US on his Twitter account.
“I do think the picture speaks volumes,” said Rice, who is a sport and performance psychology expert. “If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together.”
“Humbleness and teamwork, a brutal combination,” an Instagram user commented.
The All Blacks meet Ireland in their World Cup quarterfinal in Tokyo at 11.15pm on Saturday (NZ time).
Sevu Reece’s inclusion in the All Blacks shows the measures they will go to to win the Rugby World Cup, says an Irish rugby writer.
Ruaidhri O’Connor wrote in the Irish Independent on the eve of the quarterfinal against Ireland in Tokyo that the Ireland Rugby Football Union didn’t want the controversial winger, who played for Connacht in Ireland before having his contract torn up after Reece was given a discharge without conviction for assaulting his girlfriend last year.
While the IRFU felt that Reece’s actions did not fall into line with their values, the All Blacks do not appear to have had such concerns,” O’Connor wrote.
“Reece is undeniably a superb player, but the decision to pick him ahead of established players like Rieko Ioane and Ben Smith appears to be at odds with the All Blacks’ famed culture.”
Like I said before. I’m here now, I can’t dwell too much on what-ifs. It’s just sort of, for me, moving forward, about how I carry myself and contribute to the team on Saturday.”
O’Connor wrote that the decision to include him in the All Blacks set-up after a stunning Super Rugby season with the Crusaders shows the lengths coach Steve Hansen is willing to go to as he looks to sustain the All Blacks’ place on top of the world: “that he is willing to risk the team’s reputation as being cultural leaders to select a player with such a record”.
O’Connor said the IRFU had no regrets over pulling the plug on Reece, who could have qualified to play for Ireland after five seasons.
“For us, it was the right decision,” chief executive Philip Browne said in July. “For Connacht, it was the right decision and for the IRFU. At the end of the day, we have values and you either stand by your values or you don’t.”