|Peter Rasmussen is not a household name, and his face won't be recognised by rugby fans.|
|But he is one of the unsung heroes of the Rugby World Cup, making sure the players' smalls are as clean as their jerseys.
Rasmussen, owner of Top Team Sports Laundry in Auckland, is the official dry-cleaner and laundry man for many of the 20 world cup teams and match officials.
''I do match gear and personal gear, right down to socks and undies,'' he said. ''Sometimes you will get a bag with 10 pairs of socks and 10 undies, just for one player. I would go through probably 5000 bags of laundry during the world cup. All my work is shown on TV.''
Rasmussen, 70, has been contracted to do the laundry of all world cup teams staying at three separate Auckland hotels. He is also in charge of laundering the clothes of match officials staying in another Auckland establishment.
But unlike many Kiwis, he isn't getting much spare time to enjoy the onfield action.
''I get stuff coming in at midnight that has to be back at 8am in case match officials have to fly out to another venue,'' he said.
He launched Top Team Sports Laundry in 1987, the year of the first Rugby World Cup.
Regular clients include South African Super Rugby teams, the Warriors, the Kiwis, the All Whites, Silver Ferns and the All Blacks.
When asked for the secret to his pristine whites and bright colours, Rasmussen replied: ''I've got my secret recipe. I've been in the dry-cleaning industry, as well as the laundry. "There are a lot of things I know of that the average laundry wouldn't know. I've also been in the rag-trade since the mid-1950s. ''I know all the different fibres and how they can be treated.''
|1 September 2006
By Froilan Gomes: Te Waha Nui Online
Blood, dirt, grass, paint and sand – that’s what this man deals in. Te Waha Nui showcases one the big players behind the scenes of Auckland rugby. Peter Rasmussen thinks the Auckland NPC team, the Blues, the Warriors and the All Whites are a dirty bunch of players. And he should know. As their laundry man he has to clean their dirty jerseys after every game. Rasmussen has been in the laundry business for 20 years and owns Top Team Sports Laundry. “I named my company ‘top team sports’ because I do the laundry for the top teams here in Auckland,” he says.
Rasmussen says he takes care of all the laundry needs for any team that comes through the rugby union. “I do the jerseys for the All Blacks, and all other international teams, plus the national and local teams and the clubs.” He says cleaning the players’ jerseys is a tough job and he only does it well because of a secret recipe he made a few years ago. “I compare it to the ‘Colonel’s secret recipe’ that cleans the jerseys and makes the whites really white and the colours really bright and crisp, because that is the way the team management want it.”
Warriors football manager Don Mann agrees. “The jerseys after a game have not just grass, sand and dirt on them, but even the paint that is put on the grass to show the various markings on the field. Plus, you have blood stains as well,” he says. “When we give it to the laundry we expect not just that the whites get really white and the colours are kept intact, but even that corporate logos have their original colours and the plastic numbers on the jerseys are in good shape, when we get them back. “In the past five years that I’ve been working here, I’ve noticed that Peter does an excellent job and fulfils all these criteria and even exceeds our expectations at various times.” Luck and good connections have helped in Rasmussen’s success in the Auckland region. “I was lucky to have a friend working at the Auckland Rugby Union and he recommended me. I’ve had the contract with Auckland since 1987. “I got the Warriors contract because the club executives used to dryclean their suits at my laundry, and so when they began the club, I carried on doing the laundry for their players as well,” he says. “And then a couple of years later, the Warriors gear manager left and went to NZ Soccer and recommended me and now I have the contract to clean their jerseys as well. “I thought I’d semi-retire, and concentrate on winter sports laundry, so I could have six months off in the summer to go fishing. “But the rugby season goes for 11 months of the year. So I concentrate exclusively on sports laundry now.”
Rasmussen plans to keep the business going until the 2011 Rugby World Cup in Auckland. “Hopefully, I’ll hang on till then as there will be many teams, many bags of dirty jerseys to clean. So, it’s going to be a really fantastic time.” When asked if he’s ever found anything interesting in a rugby player’s dirty jersey, Rasmussen replies with a sly smile. “Oh, only the opposition’s blood.”
|2017 - Its a long story but the gist of it is that Peter sold me and Russell the two seats next to him for a good discount. So I said we would feed him each game. He has plenty of seats and we were surrounded by his staff who all treat him with great respect. I'd like to think that along the way I gave him some laughs while the Warriors continued in their usual lacklustre style.|