All Blacks unveil boat for Rugby World Cup 2019

South African coach Rassie Erasmus says he has no idea what they're going to do about the boat.

South African coach Rassie Erasmus says he has no idea what they’re going to do about the boat.

In a highly anticipated press conference this afternoon, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has finally unveiled the team’s boat for its Rugby World Cup 2019 campaign.

In a press conference that went from excitement, to confusion, to cautious enthusiasm, to awkward silence and back, Hansen lifted a giant black sheet from the boat, allowing media and onlookers to get the first glimpse of the vessel that the team will compete with in Japan this coming weekend.

When the boat was revealed, silence fell across the room and reporters chatted between themselves as Hansen awaited applause.

“This is a boat,” said TVNZ’s Andrew Saville, partly as an observation, partly as a question.

“Yes,” said Hansen.

A few claps could be heard, slowly breaking out into a lukewarm applause.

The All Blacks’ boat, a brand new AC75, is 23m long and 26.5m from top of the mast to the deck. It will carry a total of 11 crew, and features a foiling monohull that weighs over 6 tonnes.

Hansen read out these details from a sheet of paper while reporters, who had expected to hear an unveiling of the starting lineup for Saturday’s game against South Africa, struggled to come up with questions.

“Is this… for the game?” asked one reporter.

“Yes, it’s… for the Cup, yeah,” he replied, appearing to nearly fall asleep in the middle of his sentence.

Assistant coaches awkwardly squirmed behind Hansen, while an unidentified man came up and whispered something in his ear.

“Oh,” Hansen could be heard replying. “Well, yeah, I know, but, yeah, okay, but, well, what am I supposed to do about it?”

“Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh yeah,” said Hansen, turning back to face the media. “There’s been a slight mix-up. This is a boat.”

The boat, featuring a 145sqm mainsail and 90sqm jib, was designed and built by a team of 65, and took over 100,000 man hours to complete. Sonny Bill Williams is said not to be part of the design.

Today’s mix-up might explain why America’s Cup defender Team New Zealand last week test-rode fifteen All Blacks stapled together in Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour.