Rugby leagues around the world are banking on increasing popularity.
New Zealand is fighting a 20 year battle for the Rugby World Cup, counting toward their victory by the hour on their team site All Blacks. But New Zealand is also fighting $1 million, $10 million and $50 million salaries offered by French and English teams to lure talent from its national clubs.
Today’s meticulously groomed star rugby player is haunted by a dozen journalists, agents from Nike and Adidas, and a bevy of consultants to improve management and performance. Physiologist Alain Berthoz teaches players how their brain functions during a game, how it quickly estimates trajectory of the ball and how to improve its visual responsiveness.
While some New Zealand players are enthralled before a game in an aboriginal Maori dance, the spiritual side of rugby may not be the ingredient that’s attracting enthusiastic crowds around the world. Rugby may be a barbarian game played by gentlemen but its also a modern game increasingly enjoyed by all.