Cool Stuff: All Blacks vs USA Eagles
Back in the day, Michael Jones, Frank Bunce, Christian Cullen, Eric Rush and Terry Wright were the cream of NZ All Blacks and sometimes Manu Samoa royalty. This week they were just really great guys that Pacific Islander University of Hawai’i, where athletes had faintly heard of them from parents and cousins, but had no direct recall.
We OG's know and love these guys for their commitment as players and their proud representation of Pacific Island people.
Samoa News will be front and center, with a crew, on field for the New Zealand All Blacks vs USA Eagles 15's on Soldier Field, Chicago. So subscribe online for immediate in your face images, and buy Monday's collector's hard copy edition of the Samoa News.
A few of my recollections:
Michael Jones, first ever IRB World Cup try, I shot some imagery for his biography, "The Iceman", Michael Jones' face was a bloody mess during the Manu Samoa vs All Blacks first ever test at Eden Park... a brave soul, also Michael was a huge fan of David Tua attending as many of his fights as possible. Of course all Coolios know of his Tutuila connections. I embrace Michael's Vaie'e and Moata'a village connections, and how he always gave freely of his time coaching his beloved Moata'a Rugby Club.
Eric Rush was awesome at my first ever 1993 Hong Kong games, where he was a surrogate daddy for school boy rookie Jonah Lomu, and was awesome when I covered him playing 15's for North Harbor (across the bridge and at a stadium featuring gourmet fresh grilled sosisi Niu Sila on those freezing downunder nights... at least freezing by thin blooded Savaii boy standards). Pure beauty as a speedster ol' Rushie.
Frank Bunce was a consistent overachiever for Manu Samoa, North Harbor and the All Blacks. His great uncle, Niuean Premier Sir Robert Rex, was an extremely kind and gentle man who passed away all too early to see Frank's full career accomplishments.
Frank was the star versus a touring South African provincial team (Transvaal?), whose many stars would go on to capture the 1995 IRB World Cup title and be featured in the movie classic "Invictus". Bunce vs Transvaal games were scary times, as the despised South African Apartheid process was sunset-ing, hatred was venomously present in the crowd and by the performers, i.e. Jamaican reggae band Inner Circle famous for the song "Bad Boys", said some extremely incite-ful words at Eden Park for one game... the day of South Africa's National Elections, with ballots being cast by expat South Africans at the Auckland SA Consulate. Frank Bunce played in so many historic tests and games, of which memorable to me was the game versus Transvaal featuring future black national team players.
Yup, that South Africa election was the one that brought Nelson Mandela to power.
Confirming that the Samoa News is your premier world sports media... drum roll please... Cool Stuff received an invitation to apply for Rugby 7's at the 2016 Rio Olympics. We at the Samoa News were honored specifically because of our extensive historic quality coverage which has ironically featured Rush, Jones, and Bunce.