The Black Arts

One of schoolteacher Sean Winter-Bottom's earliest memories is of being lifted out of his bed in the dead of night, wrapped lovingly in a blanket, and plonked in front of the television to watch his country's rugby team, the All Blacks, play a test match against Wales. So special was the event, he was even allowed to break his parents' rule against eating cereal on the carpet in front of the TV. Such is the abandon that manifests in the face of New Zealand's national obsession: the brutal, beautiful game of rugby. "Here," says Winterbottom, "rugby crosses all boundaries....

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