By Kayt Robinson
This time four years ago, I was packing my bags and moving halfway around the world, from little green New Zealand to equally little and green Wales to spend a year at Cardiff University. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. In fact, if I’m completely honest, I had to Google where Cardiff was. I thought it was somewhere on the west coast.
I arrived in the Welsh capital smack-bang in the middle of the 2007 Rugby World Cup mayhem. My first experience of a Welsh pub involved drinking Guinness (it was the only beer I recognised), cheering on Fiji and making no friends as my Pacific neighbours knocked the heroes of my new home out of the World Cup.
After this loss, many locals decided to cheer on the mighty All Blacks, who had secured themselves a quarter-final game against the host-nation, France, in the Welsh capital.
Well, we all know how that went down. Luckily my patriotism only goes so far, and unlike most Kiwis that night, I was able to bring myself to party the night away on St Mary’s street with the ever-excitable Welsh, who just wanted a pint, and the extremely-shocked (but I thought friendly) French fans.
Four years later, I am back living in Wellington quietly hoping for an All Black victory, but, like four million others, I’m not holding my breath.
But let’s be honest. Who really cares about the actual Webb Eillis Trophy? To half the population, the Rugby World Cup means one thing – hot sweaty men – and my goodness, do us Kiwi girls love a good rugby fella!
Wellington is currently home-base for the Welsh and South African teams – arguably two of the best looking teams in the tournament.
My one experience of the South Africans has been walking down the main street next to a few of them; my initial thoughts – good looking but short.
As for the Welsh, well well well… what can I say. They have been training at my gym, and my-oh-my have they been the talk of the town! I’ve always had a soft spot for the Welsh, but I didn’t expect so many other women to get Welsh-fever.
Group exercise instructors have swooned while talking about ogling at the men in red. Female gym members have made the unlikely trip to the “big-boys weights room”. Unfortunately, as much as I like the Welsh, I have an element of shyness. The closest I’ve gotten has been getting the courage to speak with the trainers, while sneakily trying to perve out of the corner of my eye.
The gym isn’t the only place they’ve been noticed. A friend works in an office that looks directly into the hotel where the Welsh are staying. Let’s just say that no one told some of them it’s polite to close the curtains when they get changed. Not that my friend was complaining.
Am I objectifying them? Well, yes. Do I care? No.
Men have Miss World and countless models to ogle at every day. We have the Rugby World Cup. Yes, there are other sporting events, but for us Kiwi girls, we like our men big, muscly and rugged. Football World Cup? Tennis opens? Yeah ok, they’re pretty, but pretty isn’t what we’re after.
I’m keeping my fingers crossed we bring home the Webb Ellis Trophy. But let’s be honest, I’d just be happy if the players took their shirts off.
Kayt Robinson is a communications advisor and gym instructor in Wellington, New Zealand. In 2007-08, she studied international journalism at Cardiff University.