How cool to be an All Black!
A stallion of national pride
snorting sweaty and truck-shouldered
bowling the enemy lines to a soundtrack
of narrative praise
and yahooing couches.

The All Black is friendly with
mash of a ruck
and purple of sprig-mark and bruising
and sprains.
Raised through winters
of muddy club rugby
he trained in the twilight
in still chilly gloom where
his only applause
was the boot-gallop echo
that padded the field.

Then one day my TV erupted with his presence.
Like thunder he bulldozed
and battled for country
for love of the game
and for thrill of the fight
and I ran with him right down the wing wishing
far in the small of my mind
that I was the one full of thunder and lightning
that I was immortal on slow action replay
but I
am made of other things
and besides
I prefer to play tennis.

First published in Bravado, in the very first edition, I might add, 2004. Plus it was my first published poem too.