This coming weekend, Singapore will be hosting one of the legs of the 2016 HSBC World Rugby 7s after a 10 year absence from the league at the National Stadium. For the uninitiated, Rugby Sevens is a 7-a-side game (instead of the usual 15-a-side matches) on the full sized pitch with each half lasting 7 minutes during the pool stages, and 10 minutes during the finals. As there are lesser players on the field, the game of Sevens is faster, explosive and delivers more entertainment for fans. Did we also mention that spectators would usually dress up as well?
Even if you’re not into rugby, you would have seen or heard (thanks to social media) of the reasons why the All Blacks have are a family-friendly, teenage-idolising, fan-girl worshipping team.
1. The haka – A traditional ancestral war cry that the All Blacks perform before each match is enough to send chills down your spine.
(Video Credits: World Rugby)
2. This Men In Black in-flight safety video for Air New Zealand.
If only all in-flight safety videos could look so good.
(Video Credits: Air New Zealand)
3. Giving a young fan the World Cup medal you won minutes ago? Sure.
4. The current All Blacks jersey – dubbed as the “blackest” jersey ever. Sleek, minimalist and classic. We approve.
5. This kid who hugged Sonny Bill Williams when the All Blacks 7s’ team arrived at Changi Airport.
6. Oh and of course, the All Blacks just happen to hold the current title of the Rugby World Cup Sevens’ champion and have won the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series twice.
We were fortunate to catch some of the All Blacks 7s’ team up close and personal during a skills and drills session organised by sponsors AIG and Air New Zealand between the team and 30 rugby players from Anglo-Chinese School (Independent). The session was part of both sponsors’ efforts to support the growth of rugby in Singapore and educate local players about staying safe while playing on the field.
Aside from watching players All Blacks Sevens players Kurt Baker, Gillies Kaka, Antonio Kiri Kiri, Josh Van Lieshout, Isaac Te Aute, and Sione Molia split into 3 groups to conduct the drills (in 35 degrees weather no less), we managed to speak to Issac Te Aute (the youngest player at 19 years old!) and Gillies Kaka (man bun alert) about Singapore, their diets and inner animal instincts:
1) (To Issac) How do you like Singapore so far and what have you eaten?
Issac: It’s my first time in Singapore and it’s a really lovely place. I’m really enjoying myself here but it’s pretty hot here though, very different from back home. We had some chicken and rice. The chicken was good!
2) Describe the diet of an All Blacks player.
Issac: Back at home, my meals are usually 3 times a day but now I split it into 6 mini portions a day. I have cereal in the morning, a snack before training, a snack after training, lunch, snacks before and after training and dinner. Snacks are usually a cereal bar, fruits or a protein shake.
Gillies: We’re usually pretty strict with our diets because we’re training so hard. Mostly chicken and veggies and sometimes when we’re good, we might sneak in a pudding about once a week.
3) (To Gillies) We write mainly from a fashion and lifestyle angle and you caught our eye for the curly long blond hair on the field. Why the long hair? Does it motivate or inspire you in matches?
Gillies: I’m not too sure really, I used to have short hair and I just wanted to have a change so it’s getting quite long now… Not sure what I want to do with it. I’ll usually tie it up during matches because it’s long and it gets in the way, just like it is now (swishes hair). Yeah I’m not too sure, people have told me to cut it but, yeah, never had it so long. (We say, keep it long!)
4) (To Gillies) What kind of music do you listen to?
Gillies: A bit of everything. I’m into a bit of country music and (laughs) I make the boys angry sometimes when I play the country music.
5) The last and most important question. What is your spirit animal and why?
Issac: I would have to go with the lion. I don’t know, it’s always intrigued me.. I guess because it’s tough.
Gillies: I’ve always liked the black panther and I’ve always claimed it’s my spirit animal… probably because it’s mysterious.
The All Blacks at the post-drills autograph session
Watch out for Gillies Kaka’s man bun on the field this weekend!
Catch the All Blacks at Singapore Rugby 7s from 16 & 17 April 2016 at the Singapore National Stadium. Buy your tickets here.