News Release

Faith, Family and Football


Robbie Abel, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Auckland, New Zealand, was recently named to the renowned New Zealand rugby union team, the Maori All Blacks. Robbie has played this season for Auckland in the National Provincial Championship league, and has helped lead his Auckland team to the Mitre 10 Cup Finals Championship game being played on Saturday, October 27, 2018. The Maori All Blacks squad, to which Robbie has recently been named, will be leaving the next day for a historic tour and exhibition games to be played in the United States and South America.

Robbie’s father, President Tony Abel, a member of the stake presidency of the Canberra Stake (diocese) in Canberra commented about his son, “His teammates seem to respect the fact that he and his family are active in the Church. Family, faith and football go hand-in-hand for him and his family.”

President Abel explained that Maori All Blacks football has a rich tradition in the Abel family. “Robbie’s uncles, Sid, Ken and Brian were legendary Maori All Blacks. Both Sid and Brian [who are both still alive] have contacted Robbie since [after Robbie was named to the Maori All Blacks squad] to express that they are all very proud of his efforts. The fact he’s still active in the Church and working hard on his game is a great achievement.”

The All Blacks, New Zealand's national rugby union team, represents New Zealand in the men’s rugby union, which Is known as the country’s national sport. The team has won the last two Rugby World Cups, in 2011 and 2015, as well as the inaugural tournament in 1987. Since the introduction of the World Rugby Rankings in 2003, New Zealand has held the number one ranking longer than all other teams combined. The Maori All Blacks squad is a historic team representing the proud culture of New Zealand. It is part of the All Blacks organisation, and is comprised exclusively of rugby players who have a Maori heritage.

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.