A rugby-mad Auckland boy who won tickets to meet the All Blacks before tomorrow's Bledisloe Cup clash has a secret.
Rui Farrant, 9, will be hiding his green-and-gold allegiance under the new All Blacks kit, which was part of the prize, when he meets the players before the match. Born in Queensland to Melbourne parents, doctors Sarah and Randall Farrant, Rui quickly picked up a passion for rugby after the family moved to Waiheke Island around six years ago.
"He loves rugby. He's been player of the year two years running. He eats, sleeps and breathes rugby," said his mother.
However, she said: "He does have a lot of green and gold, I must admit that, and he has been given a lot of stick on the island lately for having the dark side clothes, as they call it. But either, way he's just so excited to have this opportunity."
Rui plans to wear his Wallabies kit under his All Blacks gear on game night. And the visitors might be hoping he passes on a few secrets after meeting their hosts.
"He said to me, 'Mum, if they ask me who my favourite player is, I'm going say Israel ... because then they won't know if it's Israel Folau or Israel Dagg'," Dr Farrant said, laughing.
True to his word, asked who his favourite player was, Rui said: "Israel". He later admitted: "Israel, with an F."
Rui won the tickets for his family, including brother Anam, 12, and sister Anais, 7, after his name was pulled from a hat at Waiheke Island Rugby Club, where he plays for the under 10s. The prize package, which includes a full All Blacks kit and the opportunity to meet the players in their dressing room before the game, was donated by local Four Square owner Tim Baker, who won a competition.
Rui described it as "very cool".
"I thought he was joking at first," said Dr Farrant. "Then of course we screamed the whole of Waiheke Island park down."
He's excited about running the ball out to the pitch before the game starts, she said.
"It's a big moment for a little boy."
Rui already knows what it feels like to score at Eden Park, clocking a try for his team on his first visit to the stadium for a junior game.