IRB defends lack of Kiwis in new Rugby World Cup ad

The hosts of the 2015 Rugby World Cup say they didn't forget to feature the All Blacks in an ad released yesterday encouraging people to buy tickets to the tournament.

In fact, current and former players were approached to do it, but declined the offer, an England Rugby 2015 official said.

The two-and-a-half minute-long piece promoting next year's tournament features Game of Thrones star and English actor Charles Dance revving up players, coaches, match officials, pyrotechnicians, a sausage-sizzler, people in lycra onesies and fans about the importance of not missing out on the tournament. Tickets go on sale next week.

However, many Kiwis noticed there was no reference to the All Blacks in the ad that includes England, Wales, Australia, South Africa, Scotland, Italy, France, Tonga, Samoa and Canada.

England Rugby spokeswoman Joanna Manning-Cooper said the team was represented, they were just a bit hard to spot.

"In the film, one parent of the little boy who squeezes between his parents' legs is an All Black fan - you may need to look more closely than usual as the tournament brand guidelines meant we had to remove the AIG sponsor branding from the NZ shirts."

Another shot in the film showed a player from the shoulders down dressed in black, though no silver fern logo was visible.

"We had to shoot the film in such a way that sponsor brands which appear on the shirts of any team which aren't official RWC sponsors, aren't visible," Ms Manning-Cooper said. The All Blacks featured in print ads.

She said All Blacks who were approached to be in the ad weren't available when it was shot at Twickenham last month.

Helen and John Chipper emailed in saying they thought it was appalling the last Rugby World Cup winners didn't feature strongly in the ad.

And Simon Lattimer said: "Does it not surprise everyone? It's called sour grapes, I suspect."

Yesterday, a New Zealand Rugby spokesman said the perceived omission was not a concern and All Black assistant coach Ian Foster was not worried either: "I haven't seen that, to be honest, but I'm pretty sure that we have qualified for the World Cup so we'll probably be there."

Watch the promotional ad here.

- NZ Herald

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