All Black stars of yesteryear are coming out of retirement for the new Three TV series Match Fit.
Spy can reveal Piri Weepu, Troy Flavell, Craig Dowd and Frank Bunce, will star in the four-part series that will follow rugby royalty Sir Graham Henry and Wayne "Buck" Shelford as they bring together a team of former New Zealand rugby greats and challenge them to get back in shape physically and mentally, with the aim of getting back on the field for one final match.
Dowd, 50, is part-owner of a medical supply company and is still involved in rugby coaching. But he admitted egos went out the door at the first-day weigh-in.
"We're all standing up there exposed in our underwear, out of shape and not looking great. I didn't expect that we were all open to being vulnerable on day one" says Dowd, who played 60 test matches through the 1990s.
Dowd says he also enjoys the bonding.
"Twenty years may have passed but things have gone back to exactly how they were … apart from the bodies."
At 58, Bunce might be the one to watch — the star of the 1991 and 1995 World Cups says he can't really run and time has caught up with his body.
"I'm worried how stable my knees are going to be and especially when it comes to contact. I might not be able to do all of it because of the state of my knees."
Despite the focus on physical health, the show — based on the UK version with former England football stars returning to the field — is actually centred around mental fitness.
Weepu, 37, told Spy his fitness was poor — but he joined the show for its message around men's health and wellbeing.
"There are some big statistics out there that show men are going through issues, to the point where they're committing suicide. At 13 I lost one of my best mates to suicide," Weepu tells Spy.
"When something like this pops up, you want to keep pushing the message, that everyone should be able to talk about how they're feeling."
Weepu has his own TV show, Piri's Tiki Tour, commentates for Sky Sport and works for NZ Māori Tourism. He also coaches at his local club in Petone.
He says that, when they do play a proper game, he is dreading the contact, making tackles and coming off second best. When the heart-rate monitors were given out, he saw the progress of the other guys and, when they completed a session, it gave him the motivation he needed.
"I was like, I better get my arse off the couch so I can run more than 15 seconds without running out of breath. It pushes you to get up and I am running around more with my kids too."
Flavell, 43, says he is still lucky enough to be playing in the Classic All Blacks rugby.
He agreed the mental health aspect of the show was the eye-opener — particularly having open conversations with team-mates.
"We are trying to be as honest and as open as we can. There is an underlying message geared towards men's mental health here — but we are not here to tell people how they should live their lives, this is just our journey."
The show is set to screen from October 20.