Aussies stick knife in at Trans-Tasman butchery contest

We have the All Blacks, the Black Sticks, the Blackcaps - and the Sharp Blacks.

They're New Zealand's national butchery team, and they've just played out an epic clash with the Aussies.

The stage may look like your local butcher's - but it's playing host to a Trans-Tasman Test Match.

"We get judged on waste, cleanliness, innovation, attention to detail, knife skills," says Australian Steelers captain Adam Stratton.

And like any Australasian match-up there's rivalry and banter.

"We like each other, and we have a few beers afterwards, but beforehand it's 'heads down, let's get rolling,'" says Stratton.

It started, as all great ideas do, as a bet - between the heads of the Kiwi and Aussie Beef & Lamb boards.

Fast forward six years and this test match is now serious competition - with international bragging rights at stake.

For those that question whether butchery can be a serious sport - it takes serious skill.

Pure South Sharp Blacks captain Corey Winder says his team-mates make the grade because they've travelled, and stuck to the craft.

"They've been around; they're passionate. The big thing for being a good butcher is having passion - you're not just turning up to work every day to get a paycheque, you're turning up because you love it," he says.

And to the 12 participants, it's an honour to get a call-up for their team.

"They can handle the pressure, they've got really good skills right across the board," says Stratton.

"You put the passion together with the skill and you've got good Sharp Blacks," says Winder.

It's not just about the competition. Both teams say it's about showing the meat-buying public what you can get when you go to a local butcher, outside the supermarket.

The teams played out an intense 2 hours, with no bathroom breaks.

The match was delayed because the visiting team left their knives at the hotel - the sort of mind games fitting for an Aussie test team.

And it helped - the Australians eventually winning.

After witnessing the spectacle, Newshub reporter Giles Dexter just had to give it a go - how hard can it be to cut up a steak?

What he didn't tell Winder was that he was a vegetarian. But, he says, he sees the slab of meat as already dead and there's not much he can do about it.

Winder agreed - "you may as well eat it then."

Dexter didn't - but did return to work a hero, with a large slab of steak for the Friday barbecue.

As for his technique, it look a while to learn how to cut and saw.

"It's good," said Winder. "But I don't know if I'd pay you a lot."

Maybe not good enough to make the cut for the Sharp Blacks but praise nonetheless.

As for all the meat, it was auctioned off.