Sun, Jan 02, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Rugby players get naked in a New Year's Eve romp

STAFF WRITER

More than 20 members of the National Taiwan University (NTU) rugby team celebrated the New Year Friday night in their unique way -- playing rugby naked.

The rugby team, formed by NTU students and alumni, was established in 1946 and is one of the oldest rugby teams in the country. Team members are mostly professionals -- professors, tycoons, doctors, judges, prosecutors and lawyers.

The rugby fanatics caused a sensation by playing rugby nude to celebrate the new millennium; since then it has become a New Year tradition.

"At first, we only wanted to try it once," said team captain "The Wall" (牆壁).

"But it felt fantastic to play rugby with our clothes off. So we decided to make this an annual tradition," he said.

With temperatures in Taipei plummeting to 7oC on New Year's Eve, team members, along with their wives and children, arrived at the campus at about 11:30pm. As the countdown to welcome 2005 began, the teammates took off their clothes while the spectators screamed, laughed and applauded.

"This is the coldest New Year's Eve [in six years]," a member said.

But he was still intent on maintaining the tradition.

"All this naked playing on the lawn looks so natural to me," said one woman who had been invited to the event for the first time. "I'm deeply moved. I myself want to take off my clothes and join them."

Since a student at Chang Gung University was punished by that school's administrators for streaking on campus in June, to avoid trouble the rugby team decided not to allow student members to take part in the naked frolic.

The team practices at NTU at 3pm every Saturday. All rugby lovers are welcome to join in.

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