Round Versus Oval

“All Whites manager, Ricki Herbert, believes football has overtaken rugby in the popularity stakes in New Zealand, as it briefly did 28 years ago when the team’s Spanish sojourn coincided with a disenchantment with the oval ball game,” writes the Guardian’s Paul Rees. “The year before a contentious tour by South Africa was bedevilled by anti-apartheid protests, one of which forced the cancellation of a game in Hamilton, rugby’s dominance is again under threat even though the All Blacks are ranked No1 in the world while the All Whites are 78th. ‘The reaction to our qualifying for the World Cup finals has been staggering,’ Herbert says, ‘even more so than in 1982. Since we qualified, South Africa soccer is not third or fourth ranked in popularity in New Zealand. It is probably No1 at the moment. What the players have done for the nation is to bring football back to where it should be.’”

Tags: All Whites  Football  Guardian (The)  Ricki Herbert  Rugby  Rugby World Cup  Rugby World Cup (2010)