Jen in Minnesota sent me another fabulously funny offbeat rugby article … the latest in the All Blacks Handbags Make You Cry Incident.
Up in arms over handbag jibe
Thu Jul 6, 2006 7:31am ET
SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia has upset near-neighbor New Zealand with television advertisements depicting some of its rugged rugby players carrying women’s handbags.
Seven Network television has been running the handbag ads, an irreverent reference to one of the most embarrassing moments in New Zealand sport, to promote Saturday’s first Tri-Nations test between the arch-rivals.
They show All Blacks players, including former captain Tana Umaga, performing the haka, a traditional indigenous Maori war dance performed by New Zealand teams before every test match.
But the television station has placed large, digitally enhanced handbags over their shoulders.
In a bizarre off-field incident in May, Umaga broke up a fight between team mate Chris Masoe and an unidentified man in a nightclub by hitting the burly Masoe over the head with a woman’s handbag he picked up off a table.
The incident reduced a tired and emotional Masoe, who weighs in at a hefty 106 kg (233 lb), to tears.
The offending handbag later attracted NZ$22,750 ($13,650) in an online auction and made New Zealand players the butt of many cross-Tasman jokes.
But New Zealand rugby officials have complained about the ad.
“It’s insensitive, I think, to Maori and disrespectful of the All Blacks,” New Zealand assistant coach Wayne Smith said.
And I found a clip of the commercial on YouTube (which I now love by the way). And look I can embed it in my blog!
Handbags or not though, hearing the haka still gives me chills. I would love to see the All Blacks perform it live someday at one of their games.
If for some reason, you can’t see the video, click here. Also, speaking of New Zealand rugby, the New Zealand Black Ferns have named the 38 players on their World Cup Trial Squad, including Selica Winiata who played for the Minnesota Valkyries a while back on an exchange.
Update: The Australian Wallaroos are down to a 56-woman training squad before the World Cup as well.