Last weekend I was asked to cover a rugby match between the New Zealand Maori All Blacks and the USA Eaglesand without missing a beat I accepted. Its not every day I get to shoot something I have rarely even seen on tv, on top of that one of the greatest rugby clubs in the world. The match was held at PPL Park, the home of the Philadelphia Union, in Chester, PA. This was my first trip to PPL Park and besides the lighting and rooftop work room, I have to say I was impressed. The sold out crowd of 18500 people dressed in red, white and blue definitely had the place buzzing for the historic event. After walking to the work room, getting set up and talking to other photographers I soon found out that we all had the same concerns. How to caption a sport we have very little to no experience in and how to tell who was who. Rugby players only have numbers on their backs making it a real challenge for us but besides that small detail… it was just another shoot.
This being my first Team USA anything, I was blown away form the National Anthem as a chorus of 18000 sang every word…Chilling!!
Following the Anthems, the Maori All Blacks performed the “haka”, a traditional Maori war cry . If you don’t know what it is I suggest you youtube it.
From the start it was clear that these guys had no regard for their body’s what so ever and would do any thing to stop each other.
Nor these guys….
To the surprise of many, the Eagles held with the All blacks in the first half and most of the second but the All blacks aren’t the best team in the world for no reason.
The All blacks won 29-19.