All Black World Cup dads talk fatherhood and being away from their kids

There are fourteen dads in the World Cup squad and being away from their children isn't easy.
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The All Blacks have released a heartwarming video interview with some of the dads in the team, opening up about fatherhood and how they cope with being away from their children for long periods of time.

The squad, currently in Japan for the Rugby World Cup, consists of fourteen fathers, each of whom take advantage of the wonders of modern technology to stay in touch with their families.

In the team there are new and old dads alike. Halfback Aaron Smith became a first-time father only five days before flying out for the tournament, while Sonny Bill Williams announced in Japan that he and his wife Alana were expecting their fourth child.

“There’s fourteen dads in the team now,” says Sonny Bill. “The beauty of that is that it’s a buffer and decompressor for some of the boys… a lot of our conversations now turn to what the kids are getting up to and how they’re getting on at school.

“It’s a little bit of a change seeing a difference and seeing the growth in the boys is pretty cool. It’s special to be a part of.”

He admits “We get immersed in our work and we’re on the grind,” but being able to pick up the phone and speak to the kids is a “decompressor.”

For Codie Taylor, staying in touch with his one-year-old son Luca and two-year-old daughter Ayla multiple times a day is a must.

“I just make sure I ring home a lot. I’m on FaceTime probably three times a day at least to see them when I wake up, and then maybe if we get a lunch break I’ll ring, and then probably say goodnight before they go to bed.

“It’s nice to be able to still still connect with them, feel like they still sort of know you even though they’re so little, they probably don’t know what’s going on, but it’s still really cool to see them.”

It’s not always easy to get their attention though.

“It’s hit and miss,” Taylor joked. “Sometimes you ring and they don’t want a bar of you and then other times my son might be like ‘oh Daddy’, and that gets you up for the rest of the day.”

Lock Sam Whitelock is under no illusions that some hours of the day are better than others to ring.

“You get a bit of trouble when you ring around the witching hour, that four to five o’clock when the kids are hungry,” he acknowledges. “But it is pretty cool being able to see what they’re up to.”

For Ofa Tu’ungafasi, who recently converted to Islam and shares his faith with Sonny Bill Williams, having children makes all of the tough times worth it.

“Having tough days… here at work or away from home… but as soon as you walk in through the front door, or as soon as you see them on the screen, FaceTime, you kind of forget.”

And for Sonny Bill, family is the great leveller. “For myself one of the things that I love about being a father is that my kids, they don’t care that I’m an All Black,” he says.

“They don’t even know that I’m an All Black or that I’m good at sports or whatever, they just care that when I’m at home I’m spending time with them and being present, so that’s the special thing about fatherhood.”

The All Blacks will take on Ireland in a quarter final clash this Saturday. If they make it all the way to the final, it will only be another two weeks away from their children.

You can watch the full All Blacks TV video below.

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