Kiwi music giants Six60 have teamed up with New Zealand rugby stars to celebrate the 25th season of Super Rugby ahead of the band's upcoming national summer tour.
The Dunedin five-piece joined star players from the five local Super Rugby franchises in a collaborative campaign launched this week. It features a reworked version of Six60's hit single The Greatest and calls on fans to "Witness Rugby Recoded".
The bold new campaign is designed to attract younger fans to Super Rugby, with the new season kicking off on January 31 and give the already hugely popular Six60 further exposure to a wider audience.
The band released their third full-length, self-titled album last November and begin their upcoming tour in Lower Hutt on Saturday before shows in New Plymouth, Hamilton, Whāngārei, Auckland and Dunedin.
Frontman Matiu Walters – a former national age group rugby star - says it's a natural fit, with the band having strong connections to the national game.
The singer played in the New Zealand Under-17s side with the band's original bassist, former Ōtāgo, Blues and Bay of Plenty lock, Hoani Matenga. The pair and Six60 drummer Eli Paewai were also teammates in the Varsity Colts side in Dunedin. The band developed close friendships with the All Blacks after performing for the team during last year's World Cup in Japan.
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"We've had an ongoing relationship with rugby for a while," Walters explained to TimeOut.
"Rugby is quite literally in my blood. My grandfather was a Māori All Black, Muru Walters, and from a young age my first dreams and aspirations were to be an All Black.
"We're sports fans and rugby fans and we actually approach music a lot like you might approach being an athlete.
"We actually take a lot of inspiration from these players and the sport generally, so it seems only natural that the two parties come together and lean on each other to take this to the next level."
Filming for the campaign saw each of the band members assigned to a team – Blues, Chiefs, Hurricanes, Crusaders and Highlanders – with All Blacks Richie Mo'unga, Aaron Smith, Codie Taylor, Jack Goodhue, Sevu Reece, Ofa Tu'ungafasi, Brad Weber, Liam Coltman and the Barrett brothers - Beauden, Scott and Jordie - taking part in a group jam – with varying success.
"There are some really talented players there … and some not, musically, although Jordie did do a great woodblock solo," Walters joked.
"Richie is really talented - he's good on the piano and a few other instruments and not bad with his voice.
"Maybe others aren't as confident with their skills, so they might be good too, but some prefer to stand back and take the shy route."
Crusaders playmaker Mo'unga is confident the campaign will be a success and believes the band's down-to-earth style will strike a chord with rugby fans and Kiwis of all ages.
"They're already a hit with rugby fans, rugby players and the New Zealand public, because they're so genuine - what you see is what you get," he explained.
"They were lads that just wanted to have a jam together and that's something that rugby players do, it's something that New Zealanders do in the garage, so I think it's going to hit off."
Mo'unga says The Greatest will also serve as a driver for teams and players throughout the Super Rugby season, while the song's positive message can resonate with anyone.
"You match the song up with Super Rugby - every team wants to be the greatest and win the competition.
"For myself and the Crusaders, we want to do something that's never been done before, which is a four-peat, to be the greatest as well.
"And even for New Zealanders who don't play rugby or do anything musically, it's what does 'the greatest' look like to them in their day job or their life? So it's going to fit well with everyone."
What: Six60 Saturday's 2020 Summer Tour
When: January 25-March 7. Tickets available at ticketmaster.co.nz