‘Blame the Ref’ – psychology for the RWC

Rugby is central to New Zealand’s sense of national self worth- but this can be a problem given New Zealand’s recent track record of not winning world cup contests, says Associate Professor of Psychology,   Marc Wilson, of Victoria University in Wellington.

“We love our rugby,” he said in a public lecture at Wellington on September 7. “That’s great when the All Blacks are winning (like between Rugby World Cups), but when they lose it’s a different story.”

Prof Wilson canvassed changes in public perceptions of All Blacks as the sport became increasingly professional, the importance of the black strip, and questions about refereeing, before speculating on the potential impact of the World Cup result on politicians.  He also considered the apparent advantage gained by sports teams wearing red.

The lecture was accompanied by one on arena spectacles in a very different era – ancient Rome – which was given by the university’s  Associate Professor of Classics,  Matthew Trundle.

The Science Media Centre recorded an excerpt from Prof Wilson’s lecture: you can listen to it below.

The speaker is a psychologist and commentator, Associate Professor Marc Wilson, of Victoria University, Wellington