'Raw emotion' of the World Cup

By Andre Hueber, Chloe Johnson

Simon Rayner and Lucas McIver show where their loyalties lie. Photo / Supplied
Simon Rayner and Lucas McIver show where their loyalties lie. Photo / Supplied

Chardonnay-sipping art aficionados will critique Adam Whitelock's "raw emotion and great, muscular energy" this month - and the Crusaders' rugby midfielder is perfectly comfortable with that.

The photograph was taken just after his Christchurch High School Old Boys Rugby Football Club team beat Shirley 83-0.

His is one of 100 faces of rugby, amateurs and professionals, whose life-sized images will line the walls of the New Zealand Portrait Gallery this month to mark the World Cup.

"I do remember that game," he said this weekend.

"I think it was seven-nil at halftime, and then the floodgates opened."

The photo does not portray a man who's had a walk in the park, though.

"It was quite muddy, and I think it was quite a tussle. You knew who hadn't pulled their weight if their jersey was still white - I hope my jersey's not white!"

Kiwis all over New Zealand are finding ways to celebrate the Rugby World Cup and making it an event to remember.

Photographer David Matches used an old 10x8 bellows camera to take a single photograph of each player, immediately after the final whistle: sweaty, bloody, muddy. He taped a piece of white paper to the clubhouse or changing shed, banged them up against the wall and snapped them.

"Rugby provides the opportunity for its players to express profound emotions and aspects of their identity with a kind of articulate expression often impossible in everyday life," Matches said.

Gallery director Avenal McKinnon said the visual impact of the works was huge.

"No matter what the individual viewer's attitude to rugby, the effect of such raw emotion and great, muscular energy is inescapable."

Whitelock said: "I'm comfortable with that.

"Rugby's a game where you've got to be pretty rugged, so if that's what it shows then fine, I'm happy to be seen like that."

Meanwhile, in Waikato three mates have pooled $8000 to buy and paint an All Black Bus.

Lucas McIver, 30, Simon Rayner, 32, and Matt Borg, 30, bought a 1956 Bedford bus off Trade Me and painted it black and white, with a large silver fern on the side.

They bought tickets to 13 games, including the finals at Eden Park in Auckland.

- Herald on Sunday

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