The aim of the site is to cover some of the rugby highlights from Sevens World Series and International Test rugby, including both the All Blacks and the USA Eagles.  My hope is to introduce new fans to rugby and support interest in the sport that Dave Gallaher once referred to as “the Prince of Games”. Together with my wife, we will be profiling some of the greatest All Blacks with original artwork over the coming years (and maybe some others depending on reader requests).

cartoonists-rod and leanne hannah1New Zealanders are very lucky to have a new golden age of the All Blacks upon us.  Under the incumbent head coach Steve Hansen the team has a win ratio of over 90%.  In the last 10 years the All Blacks have become even sharper and more ruthless as their dominance over their rivals has increased.  It may prove frustrating to foreign fans of Rugby, but the one great thing that the All Blacks should represent for everyone is what excellence, passion and purpose can do for even a small nation on a world stage.

This site collects my opinions and observations on the Union code of rugby.  While I enjoy French, Argentinian, Welsh and Japanese rugby teams, as an expat New Zealander, I make no bones about my bias.  New Zealand have earned the title of greatest rugby team in the world, but it is impossible to love the game without appreciating the talents and flavor spread throughout the larger world of international rugby as well.   The USA Eagles are the representative side for International Test matches and have managed to punch above their weight in a large country with only a very small player base.  With Sevens rugby on the rise, however, the USA Eagles are a power in the making.

My era of the All Blacks is the present.  Living on the East Coast of the United States of America, I am frequently dragging myself out of bed at 3:30 am in the morning to cheer on my team as they play on the other side of the world.  Perhaps that’s why I love it when they play Argentina!

Of course, I am lucky that the All Blacks rarely make getting up early in the morning a disappointment!

I was born in England, but moved to New Zealand with my family and Kiwi dad when I was 5 1/2 years old.  Living in Auckland, I caught the Rugby bug a little late.  It was 1995 and I was drawn to League when the first New Zealand team entered Australian Rugby League.  My brother is still a passionate League fan to this day.  However, the rich history of Rugby Union is part of New Zealand’s identity and living legends like Jonah Lomu caught my imagination.  Once I moved to America I found national pride elevated the importance of the All Blacks and the sport in my own estimation.  I have developed an even greater admiration for a team that always delivers when playing for their country, win or lose.

Rugby is like a song that calls to you from far away.  It’s history is rich with heroism, honor and villainy.  Today the game seems to stand at a crossroads where Sevens Rugby promises a brighter future for the sport as a truly global game.

Through the World Cups of 2003 and 2007 I watched with friends, waiting for the All Blacks to confirm all that I knew and believed of them.  The boys were beaten that day and the dream seemed to die for many.  It’s difficult to explain to someone unfamiliar with the New Zealand psyche just how important the All Black legend is to us.  It was hard to understand why the world stage proved a stumbling block to such a dominant team.  When 2011 came around it was a more somber, quiet affair.  This time, in the middle of the night, with only my wife at my side, we felt every minute of the game.  We might not have been there in New Zealand, but our jubilation must have woken the neighbors.

Regular access to All Blacks games was difficult until more recently.  It was not until the 2011 World Cup that I was able to connect back with the team on a weekly basis.  That’s why the late Graham Henry era and the current Steven Hansen era are what I consider my team.  While Richie and Reado are my favorite All Blacks, the team are icons of talent and humility and I’m very proud of them.

~~~Rod W Hannah

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