By the Balls is a feature-length documentary about the All Black rebel tour to South Africa in 1986 and the Kiwi’s recovery to win to the inaugural Rugby World Cup in 1987. It will be broadcast on TG4 at 1025 pm tonight.
Sport and politics provide a gripping mix in this look back at a brutal and turbulent time for New Zealand rugby, told from the point of view of the players themselves including David Kirk and Buck Shelford.
In the lead up to the first Rugby World Cup in 1987 the All Blacks, were in disarray after most of the team went on a rebel tour to apartheid South Africa.
Two men, David Kirk and John Kirwan, stood up against their own teammates, refused to go on the tour and refused the lucrative payments on offer to what were then amateur players to tour South Africa.
At the same time New Zealand was taking on France over its testing nuclear weapons in the South Pacific. Adding insult to injury the French rugby team demolished the All Blacks, literally ripping the scrotum of their fiercest player, Wayne ‘Buck’ Shelford.
He also lost four teeth and gained a concussion in the game.
He was one of the All Blacks who went to South Africa despite their separatist politics. When the team returned, he realised how strongly New Zealanders felt and he was keen to set the record straight that the All Blacks did not support racism.
He is credited for bringing the iconic haka to the All blacks.