Beauden Barrett from the famed All Blacks introduces us to world of rugby, his journey from backyard games to world championships, as well as his partnership with TUDOR
What soccer is for Indonesians, rugby is for New Zealanders. A national sport played anywhere from backyards to world championships, rugby is an integral part of New Zealand culture. And among the most celebrated heroes of the sport, we find the legendary All Blacks. Formally known as the New Zealand national rugby union team, the All Blacks commands a presence that extends beyond its home country—and even into the realm of popular culture. The team, in their distinctive all black kit, have appeared on Air New Zealand safety videos while clips of their famous pre-game haka are often found on video-sharing platforms and social media. And, they have also appeared on the campaigns of Swiss watch brand TUDOR. Recently, DA MAN had the rare opportunity to chat a bit with a key player in the team: the one and only Beauden Barrett. Just two years after going pro, he was selected for the All Blacks and became the driving force that led to the team’s victory in the 2015 Rugby World Cup. It goes without saying that Barrett has quite a few stories to tell about his beloved sport and his partnership with TUDOR…
DAMAN: Rugby is not exactly well-known here in Indonesia. In a nutshell, what makes rugby special?
Beauden Barrett: Rugby is a very unique sport with its own set of rules. It is physical and involves a lot of strength and skill. It can also be very fast-paced, which makes for great watching. Rugby has always been popular in New Zealand and is our national game. It’s been integral to our identity because of our strong cultural affiliation. Starting at the grass roots, rugby runs deep in our schools and communities.
DA: One incredibly popular aspect of the All Blacks’ appearances is the pre-game haka. Can you tell us a bit about this tradition and its importance to the team?
BB: Traditionally, the Maori people of New Zealand performed the haka to display a tribe’s pride, strength and unity. For the All Blacks, it’s about honoring the past, connecting in the present moment and uniting before a battle which is a game of rugby.
DA: Let’s return to your own journey. How did your passion for rugby start and what was your journey like from enthusiast to joining New Zealand’s national team?
BB: Growing up, I watched my father play rugby from Taranaki and the Hurricanes. He was my hero. My brothers and I loved playing rugby in the backyard and I have wanted to be an All Black ever since.
DA: What are some of the most significant or memorable milestones in your career as a rugby player?
BB: Definitely winning the Rugby World Cup in 2015.
DA: On the flip side, what were some of the most significant challenges that you’ve encountered through your career? And more importantly: How did you overcome them?
BB: A few years ago, I suffered a concussion, which meant I couldn’t play for a few months. I learned to be patient and tried several alternative treatments to heal my head and neck, and eventually get back on the field.
DA: Rugby has a reputation for being a very tough sport. How do you physically and mentally prepare yourself for a game?
BB: As a team, we make sure we are managing our bodies through appropriate recovery and conditioning sessions. Working on our mental strength is very important and ultimately the difference.
DA: How would you describe the camaraderie within a rugby team?
BB: The All Blacks is like a brotherhood; we go into battle for each other. We learn to operate in high pressure environments supporting each other along the way.
DA: Are there any particular matches that you’d recommend to watch for non-rugby fans as a sort of trailer to the sport?
BB: World Cup matches are good to watch as the teams all seem to step it up for those high-pressure matches. There are so many of those available on YouTube!
DA: Can you tell us about one or two pre-game traditions that embody the spirit and beauty of the sport?
BB: One of the best things about rugby is that we physically smash each other for 80 minutes and after the final whistle we shake hands and often have a drink with our opponents.
DA: How did your collaboration with TUDOR begin? What was it that piqued your interest in the brand and, conversely, what do you think did TUDOR see in you?
BB: Following the team’s RWC 2015 performance, I had the opportunity to join TUDOR as an ambassador as the brand is the official timekeeper of the Rugby World Cup and also a partner of the All Blacks. It is a privilege to cultivate this special relationship on and off the field. TUDOR offers a wide range of watches and I love the versatility and history of the brand. I can also appreciate the incredible level of detail and time that has been spent making each time piece.
DA: TUDOR’s famous “Born to Dare” motto seems to be especially appropriate for a rugby athlete like yourself. In what ways do you feel does this idea resonate with yourself?
BB: Every day I am “daring” by stepping outside of my comfort zone and putting my body on the line, whether it’s in training or playing matches. This is one of the reasons why I feel so lucky to be part of this watchmaking family: we share the same values.
DA: Can you tell us about any particularly memorable moments from working with TUDOR?
BB: I have been lucky enough to visit the TUDOR ateliers in Geneva and see first-hand the passion and craftsmanship that goes into making these iconic timepieces.
DA: What’s your favorite TUDOR watch at the moment? And, on a more general note, what is it that you usually look for in a timepiece?
BB: Currently it’s my Black Bay Chrono with a white dial and black counters—the so-called panda. I usually look for something versatile that I can wear from training to meetings and then out for dinner.
DA: Looking ahead, what are some of your goals for the future? What are some of the milestones you want to reach next?
BB: For the immediate future, my focus is on the All Blacks performing at this year’s Rugby World Cup in France which TUDOR is the official timekeeper. While my future plans aren’t set in stone, one of my goals is always to be happy and healthy.
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