I’m a great believer that rugby can help break down barriers and bring people together. From cultural, class, gender or disability, rugby accepts the player or club volunteer and brings them into the “rugby family”. When my mother died, my rugby family held me close. Feeding me at the weekend, supporting me off the pitch, training me mid-week and giving me something to strive for in my spare time. It’s a gift I wanted to pass onto my children and so far I think it’s helping them through their young lives.
I recently watched a short documentary about Kiwi Jard James as he tries to find his feet in Japan. Jericho Rock-Archer, Joshua Rollo and his brother Phillip Rollo, a Fairfax Media journalist, and Steffan Paton from Wellington, NZ have been working on this documentary for the past four months. The story explores the power of rugby to bring people together, even when those people don’t even speak the same language.
For me, this highlights how universal the game is in ensuring the “rugby family” is consistent around the world. Whether you are from Norfolk or Japan, the values of rugby are the same…we are all brothers on and off the field. We are rugby united.
The documentary is one of the 10 ideas this year funded by Loading Docs, a launch pad for New Zealand short documentary making. The Loading Docs initiative is funded by NZ On Air’s Digital Media Fund with the support of the New Zealand Film Commission and Te Mangai Paho.
Rock-Archer and James had met on the plane to Japan, where they were both going to be English teachers. They kept in contact and became good friends. The group decided it was a good base for a short documentary and travelled to Japan to shoot the whole thing in one week in April.
I’ve watched it numerous times now and I truly feel the makers of the film did a superb job in highlighting how rugby can bring people together, no matter their language, culture or personal background.