The best bit of behind-the-scenes All Blacks footage is almost 30 years old. They're on a farm in Wales, for some reason, and Zinzan Brooke - his right hand in a bandage, his hair a resplendent mullet - is astride a pony. "Give it a whack on the bum!" someone shouts, so Richard Loe does; the pony takes off like something out of Benny Hill, and eventually sends Zinny flying into the mud.

As the camera pans back to the crowd, you can see Grizz Wyllie, one of the great hard men of New Zealand rugby, wiping away tears of laughter.

Fair to say, nothing in Amazon Prime Video's behind-the-scenes documentary series, which comes out this Friday, will come close to topping this moment from The Good, The Bad and The Rugby. Narrated by the injured John Kirwan (who stayed on the eight-week tour despite his ankle being in a cast), the video diary of the 1989 tour of Wales and Ireland is full of stuff you'd never dream of these days - running team jokes about rugby league scouts, violent midweek encounters against sides full of coal miners, an impassioned changing room singalong to Hey Jude.

Available to watch in its entirety at NZ On Screen, it's a classic snapshot of the pre-professional era All Blacks.


The Amazon series (full title All or Nothing: New Zealand All Blacks) will go behind the scenes of a whole new era - the high performance era, the global megabrand era.

If the other editions of the growing All or Nothing stable are anything to go by, it will be absolutely fascinating - but maybe more for overseas viewers than for us. As the title suggests, this series is aimed at an international audience, a lot of whom won't know the first thing about rugby, New Zealand, or the "New Zealand All Blacks".

This is the position I was in when I started watching All or Nothing: Michigan Wolverines, following a team I now understand to be a powerhouse of US college football. That competition, and the intense fervour it inspires, is as bizarre and intriguing to me as I'm sure rugby is to plenty of Americans; the sight of a grown man hyping himself up to the point of tears during a pre-game speech is probably equally as mystifying as hearing Steve Hansen start every sentence with "yeah, nah, look". The series played out like a cinematic cut of the team's season, and I had no idea how any of it played out. It's a great way to watch sport.

But for those of us who remember the results of all the ABs games last year, will this one still be worth watching? Even if we don't learn a single new or interesting thing about the inner workings of the All Blacks machine, the answer is almost certainly yes - for the spectacular cinematic match-day footage alone. If they've got Sam Cane riding a pony up their sleeve too, or Steve Hansen expressing a strong emotion for the first time, then all the better.


All or Nothing: New Zealand All Blacks, Amazon Prime Video, streaming from Friday, June 1.