UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon likened international diplomacy to rugby union on Tuesday, although he conceded he was unlikely to have his teeth smashed while strutting the world stage.
Visiting New Zealand for this week's Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), Ban noted that preparations for the World Cup were in full swing ahead of the tournament's opening match in Auckland this Friday.
"New Zealand is the magnificent meeting ground of both the world of diplomacy and the world of rugby," said in a speech at Auckland University. "I have come to realise that those worlds are not as different as you might think.
"In rugby, you lose teeth. In diplomacy, you lose face.
"Rugby scrums confuse anyone who doesn't know the game, including myself - so do UN debates. And sometimes they can look very similar."
He said qualities associated with rugby such as teamwork, grit and determination also proved useful in his line of work.
In true diplomatic fashion, Ban wished host nation New Zealand well in the World Cup, without saying which team he actually wanted to win the tournament.
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