This article supplied to the Rugby Reader’s Review by Robert Cummings, who writes, “Wondered if this might be of interest. The match took place during the brief Irish tour of New Zealand earlier this year in Dunedin and involved Irish backpackers and the local St Kilda surf club members. The plan was for an all-nude touch rugby game but the Irish baulked. They did however win the touch rugby series. Their countrymen were not so lucky in the 15-man game and lost the test matches to New Zealand. Honours even all round I'd say. This article was originally posted on the  news website.”



Mostly clothed Irishmen win nude touch rugby 'test'


17 June 2002 -  news



If only Fergus Mather's mum could have seen her little boy on Saturday.


The 32-year-old Tipperary man reckoned his performance in the Irish vs New Zealand nude touch rugby test at Dunedin's St Kilda beach would have brought a "wee tear to her eyes".


"She would have been so proud," the only naked member of the Irish team said after a

2-1 trouncing of a completely unclothed New Zealand team before a crowd of 150 and at least five media organisations.


"It was getting hard out there, but I stuck in there and gave it my best shot," Mr Mather said.


Six of the seven Irishmen decided to leave their clothes on for the test of fortitude, after three Englishmen were seen shivering in the St Kilda Surf Club showers after an earlier naked plunge in the sea.


Mr Mather did not feel let down by his side.


"No, I'm never disappointed with my team. You can understand their thinking of not taking their clothes off," Mr Mather said.


The New Zealand team, being mostly St Kilda Surf Club members, were undeterred by the 4degC (39 degrees Fahrenheit) temperature.


The game proceeded delicately in the first 10-minute half, as the Irish carefully kept touches above the waist.


In the much shorter "second half", the men played with beer cans in one hand and some touches became resounding slaps on the backside.


St Kilda Surf Club member Dave Bourke, 35, was determined to be selected after reading about the match last week.


"The club often does naked runs," he said.


The Irish team and most of the spectators were overseas tourists staying in Dunedin backpackers and hostels.


The nude touch rugby was a highlight of the New Zealand Backpacker Festival, which also included brewery and bar tours, sightseeing and last night's fully clothed rugby test between New Zealand and Ireland at Carisbrook.