For most fans the relationship between rugby and food has begun and ended with a pie and chips at the game. For the fancier eaters, those usually seated on halfway, there might be a stadium burger on the menu instead.

But the game is always evolving and the days of a player eating steak and eggs before a test match is a thing of the past. Now it's roasted pumpkin and feta risotto or chilli and lime prawn pasta - on their off days at least.

The New Zealand Rugby Foundation has celebrated its 25th Anniversary with the favourite recipes from some of the biggest names in the game. It's packed with a wide range of recipes and glossy images of players attempting their efforts in the kitchen.

No offence to Richie McCaw's topside beef or Dan Carter's lasagne, but of the current crop of players, Andrew Hore's venison with beer and port, Victor Vito's beef Wellington and Conrad Smith's roasted snapper with Israeli couscous look the most delectable while Charlie Faumuina literally takes the cake with his chocolate and walnut recipe. Piri Weepu's boil-up with fancy buttermilk dough boys ... not so much, and dietitians may agree.


Even some of the game's greats get in the act, including Colin Meads' roast leg of lamb, the late Sir Wilson Whineray offering a fish stew along with Waka Nathan's fish supreme.

Sir Graham Henry `s apple sponge offers a sweet side to the former All Blacks coach as does the banana cake recipe of hardman Jerome Kaino.

The book is packed with honest hearty food that would go down well at home before an All Blacks test match. Nothing looks too difficult to make, but there are degrees of difficulty on offer from Andrew Ellis' nacho dip to Ross Kennedy's pumpkin, kumara and pinenut quiche.

If it seems overwhelming for the average punter then there's five recipes in the pie section ... you'll have to work out chips on your own.

Check out the recipe for Richie McCaw's Topside Supreme.

* NZ Rugby Kitchen, published by Random House, is available now. RRP $45. Royalties from the book go to the NZ Rugby Foundation.