Te Ahikaa Trotman
All Blacks or Warriors? Battle for rugby or league supremacy puts Kiwi sports fans to the test
Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air
What will New Zealanders want more - the All Blacks winning their fourth Rugby World Cup or the Warriors taking out their first NRL title?
That’s the dilemma sports fans are grappling with as D-Day approaches tomorrow. The All Blacks kick off their RWC campaign in the morning, and 12 hours later the Warriors head back to waters they have not been in for many years - the top four semifinals.
The All Blacks play their first World Cup game since their bronze medal exit in Japan in 2019, and the Warriors play their first top-four game since finishing fourth in 2007.
That’s a long time between drinks for a lot of diehard sports fans.
That has sparked a debate on social media about which is more important for New Zealanders: a fourth World Cup or a first NRL Premiership.
The debate started in June when Go Media Stadium (Mt Smart) hosted both teams on the same weekend, with the All Blacks taking on South Africa and Cronulla up against the Wahs the next day.
Two different codes, two separate competitions but, in weighing up the popularity of both, we’ve asked members of the public what would be more impactful for New Zealand.
Gaining massive popularity this season, through social media and “Up the Wahs” chants, the Warriors have their biggest bandwagon in years, while the All Blacks have been the staple of New Zealand sport for a very long time.
The Warriors are now an international phenomenon, with guys like Steve Kerr, Willie Mason and Israel Adesanya all stating “Up the Wahs”.
Lifelong Warriors fan Maunganui Hawe said: “You already know the answer: Up the Wahs.
“Yeah it’d be good for the All Blacks to win their fourth World Cup, but for people like me, a diehard, the One New Zealand Warriors winning this Premiership, it’d be a dream come true.”
Hawe has been a fan since birth, as his parents have been club membership holders since 1996.
And it appears that the Warriors title to the people the Herald spoke, to it is far more important than ANOTHER Rugby World Cup.
Karl Sangster said: “A first NRL premiership as it’s never happened before, for the Warriors who have been playing in the NRL for 28 years, if they were to win, then it’d be amazing, especially when you consider what they have been through during the Covid years being based in Australia.”
Jay Paul said: “I think the NRL premiership. We expect a World Cup win from the All Blacks, aye?”
Rehutai Kingi agreed: “I would say the Wahs, cause they’ve only been to the grand final twice. I feel like a lot of people have been moving over to the NRL. I find union boring now, I think league’s more exciting to watch, anyway.
Jaxin Daniels was also supporting the Wahs: “First Premiership, the term ‘Up the Wahs’ is captivating the nation even in the year of a Rugby World Cup.”
Zac T-Papali’i: “Personally I just think cause of this ‘Up the Wahs’ campaign, Warriors winning their first NRL premiership is just more monumental.”
Toby Robb: “I feel like it’d be the Wahs winning their first premiership, at the moment I think the All Blacks winning the World Cup would be standard, because they are the standard, so Up the Wahs”.
Steven Kong: “The Wahs winning their first premiership, since NZ has a rep of winning the World Cup, and because of that, I think it’d be the Wahs”.
But it wasn’t all one-way Wahs.
Joel Bennett: “Rugby Union’s our national sport, so it has to be the a World Cup”.
Archie Lee-Cooper: “Fourth World Cup, mainly because, we as a country are so invested in the All Blacks at this point, and we would be the first-ever country to win four, and also we’d stop South Africa from repeating, I think it’d be a happy ending for Ian Foster after a tumultuous four years.”
The verdict: Based on the unscientific research we got from the fans, the Warriors winning would be more important to New Zealand than the All Blacks.
But what if the All Blacks and the Warriors won?
Go the All Blacks - go the Warriors!
Guide for Saturday’s games:
RWC Opening ceremony at 6.30am, kickoff 7.15am
NRL Qualifying Final 2, 18.05 kickoff
Hero image: Rugby versus league - battle of the Titans. Photo / Dean Purcell, Photosport