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Success at last!

25th October 2011 by Andrew Matheson, | 2 Comments

So, we made it. In the face of a spirited and proficient performance by a charged-up French side, New Zealand’s national rugby team the All Blacks secured a victory in the Rugby World Cup in the weekend.   

All Blacks captain Richie McCaw raised the coveted Webb Ellis trophy to the roars of appreciation from the ‘Stadium of four million’ that New Zealand has become for the entire Rugby World Cup tournament.

Rugby World Cup

New Zealand, proud host of the 2011 Rugby World Cup

New Zealanders are passionate about rugby.  The Rugby World Cup, though, was about much more than the game.  New Zealanders from one end of the country to the other were proud hosts of this four-yearly event, adopting teams, accommodating visitors, and having one long series of parties.

Why is a nation of just over four million people so devoted to rugby that it is the world champion in this game?  A Spanish photographer Nacho Hernandez, himself a keen rugby player, explores this in an extraordinary photo gallery and blog.   He focuses on the importance of fostering rugby at the grass roots, resulting in “a combination of nation-wide passion for the sport, tradition, and a very proud sense of having a legacy that has to be protected“.

Nacho’s photos are well worth a look, as they capture New Zealanders’ personal involvement in the sport.   And the connection with the Philippines?  In his other photojournalism projects Nacho takes a good look at the Philippines, including its passion for religion.  Given the rapidly increasing support in the Philippines for rugby, which I’ve blogged about here and here, maybe one day Nacho might document the grass roots support for the sport in this country.

2 Responses to “Success at last!”

  1. nacho hernandez nacho hernandez says:

    Dear Ambassador,

    Thank you very much for the nice comments on my work.
    I am now in Auckland, where I had the time of my life watching the semifinals and the big final of the Rugby World Cup. I felt like I was being witness of something historic. Part of the All Blacks unmatched history.

    I am back in Manila next week. If it is OK, I would love to get in touch sometime and discuss rugby (in NZ and in the Philippines) and other things New Zealand, a country I cannot get enough of. As always, being in your beautiful and hospitable country was such a pleasure.

    Best regards,


  2. Andrew Matheson says:


    Thanks very much for getting in touch. I’m pleased that you were able to soak up some of the magical Rugby World Cup atmosphere in New Zealand over the past couple of weeks.

    Please do make contact when you’re next in Manila; it would be good to meet.


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