In various countries, sports teams have posed nude for a variety or reasons. The most famous are the French rugby team and Warwick Rower’s nude calendars but in New Zealand, the Nude Blacks rugby team don’t have a calendar. They actually play the game naked!

The poses of the French rugby players and English rowers are carefully arranged to hide their manhood. Some images even include props to maintain their modesty. However, the Nude Blacks are different. They are proud to hide nothing and this total exposure contributes to their immense popularity. Of course their name is a nod to the world’s top rugby team, The New Zealand All Blacks.

The university town of Dunedin is perhaps the most liberally minded place in Australasia. With students making up a quarter of the city’s population of 115,000, it is a matter of the locals having to accept the crazy escapades students like to engage in.

The University of Otago is New Zealand’s oldest university and is home to the country’s only dental school, as well as the nation’s most respected medical school. The university is also a leader in physical education and the Otago Polytechnic has a world renowned fashion design department. To put it another way, with such a diverse population of students, Dunedin happily embraces the outrageous. Apart from mud fights, bath races, drag ballet, and the country’s most infamous street party, the Nude Blacks stand out as THE most interesting student activity. The Nude Blacks play a rugby match prior to every international rugby game held in the city.

Formed in 2002, the now internationally famous nude rugby team attracts thousands of spectators all out to see male genitalia swinging around the field as the team of naked young men enthusiastically try to score a win against their near naked opponents.

The organizers spend around 200 hours bringing the team players together. Most are students from Otago University but some are also local lads who have a desire to demonstrate their rugby skills to the public (year right!) The idea of being part of this unique rugby team is a draw card for many of the men. To appear in international media is another reason for joining up for the Nude Blacks.

Nude Blacks v England 2014 Image: Robyn Edie

As part of my research for a travel book I was writing on Dunedin, I spoke to the captain of the second Nude Black team after it won the game on St. Kilda beach. He was a friendly guy with a smile that demonstrated his enthusiasm for his team. He admitted to a satisfaction in being able to play nude in front of an appreciative crowd. The feeling of liberation each player experiences and the fun element and boasting rights ensure there is never a shortage of young men putting their hand up to be part of the team.


Prior to the game, I also spoke to a few of the players in a bus that had transported them to the beach. One was studying to be a doctor, another was a law student. They were waiting for the call to run past the line of spectators waiting to see them. They admitted they were apprehensive but were also excited to be able to appear naked in public. They knew they would be heroes among their peers for their efforts. “It’s about embracing student life to the fullest.” the medical student told me. “I won’t get the opportunity to be naked in public again without getting arrested.” the law student added. Another player with a truly athletic build admitted he had a fantasy to appear nude in a newspaper and on TV.  The most memorable comment I heard on that bus was from a comfortably endowed boy who told me, ” I hope chicks won’t run screaming at the sight of my dick.” Another player smiled at me when he said, “I’m a showoff!”


After international media took an interest, the reputation of the Nude Blacks skyrocketed. The team moved from the beach to established rugby grounds in the centre of the city. For the last 4 matches around 1,500 spectators gazed at the nude players as they tackled each other in scrums and line outs in the hope of winning the coveted Toilet Seat Trophy. Each player’s focus is on fun and for a quirky twist on the streaker, a fully clothed man runs across the field and is arrested by a naked policeman for being disruptive.

Opposing teams are encouraged to play nude too and in recent years players representing other rugby nations got their kit off to face the swinging Nude Blacks.

A ‘Line Out’ During an Irish Game (ODT)


The boys of the Nude Blacks have become image celebrities on the internet with some of the photos appearing as posters and also inspiring other sports teams to strip for both fun and for charity. Hockey and rowing teams in Europe and the USA have created their own websites to expose themselves for club fundraising. Whenever these naked men are interviewed, they all say it was FUN!

I asked a female spectator why she was at the game. “You don’t often get the chance to see a guy with his kit off in public, let alone a whole team of them! Why would I want to miss that?” A male spectator had a different reason. “I wanna see if any of the guys get, well you know, too excited playing the game. That would be a blast!”

Like the All Blacks, the Nude Blacks also perform a haka. This has become a great photo opportunity for photographers from around the world.

As far as I know, there are no plans for a Nude Blacks calendar. The boys want to keep away from all commercial involvement. They believe the special atmosphere of the game would disappear with sponsor’s requirements and as they pointed out to me, it’s a unique activity they are proud to be part of as long as it remains “live” and FUN.

In this video, the Nude Blacks play England.

Please leave a comment.

Ceidrik Heward


  1. These guys are great fun to watch! But what are the plans of Nude Blacks for 2018? did they play last year? haven’t heard any updates from them since 2016… really appreciate their idea of promoting body acceptance through such a spectacular way – can it get more impressive than naked rugby?

    • The Nude Blacks play in Dunedin every time there is an international rugby match played there (with the All Blacks). I’m not sure if there are any international rugby matches planned for Dunedin this year.

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