|Emblem||Silver fern frond|
|Union||New Zealand Rugby Union|
|Head coach||Steve Hansen|
|Most caps||Richie McCaw (148)|
|Top scorer||Dan Carter (1598)|
|Top try scorer||Doug Howlett (49)|
|World Rugby ranking|
|Current||1 (as of 30 September 2019)|
|Highest||1 (2009 - 2019)|
| Australia 3–22 New Zealand|
(Sydney, Australia; 15 August 1903)
|New Zealand 145–17 Japan |
(Bloemfontein, South Africa; 4 June 1995)
| Australia 47-26 New Zealand|
(Perth, Australia; 10 August 2019)
Australia 28-7 New Zealand
(Sydney, Australia; 28 August 1999)
|Appearances||8 (First in 1987 )|
|Best result||Champions, 1987, 2011, 2015|
The New Zealand national rugby union team, called the All Blacks, represents New Zealand in 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.
New Zealand is a sovereign island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses—the North Island, and the South Island —and around 600 smaller islands. It has a total land area of 268,000 square kilometres (103,500 sq mi). New Zealand is situated some 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and roughly 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) south of the Pacific island areas of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long period of isolation, New Zealand developed a distinct biodiversity of animal, fungal, and plant life. The country's varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks, such as the Southern Alps, owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions. New Zealand's capital city is Wellington, while its most populous city is Auckland.
Rugby union, widely known simply as rugby, is a contact team sport which originated in England in the first half of the 19th century. One of the two codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand. In its most common form, a game is between two teams of 15 players using an oval-shaped ball on a rectangular field with H-shaped goalposts at each end.
A national sport is considered to be an intrinsic part of the culture of a nation. Some sports are de facto national sports, as football is in the United States and Gaelic games are in the Ireland, while others are de jure national sports, as lacrosse and ice hockey are in Canada.
They have a 77% winning record in test match rugby, and are the only international men's side with a winning record against every opponent. Since their international debut in 1903, they have played test matches against 19 nations, of which 12 have never won a game against the All Blacks. They have also played against three multinational all-star teams, losing only 8 of the 45 matches against these stacked teams. 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 All Blacks jointly hold the record for the most consecutive test match wins for a tier one ranked nation, along with England.
A test match in rugby union is an international match, usually played between two senior national teams, that is recognised as such by at least one of the teams' national governing bodies.
The World Rugby Rankings is a ranking system for men's national teams in rugby union, managed by World Rugby, the sport's governing body. The teams of World Rugby's member nations are ranked based on their game results, with the most successful teams being ranked highest. A point system is used, with points being awarded on the basis of the results of World Rugby-recognized international matches. Rankings are based on the team's performance, with more recent results and more significant matches being more heavily weighted to help reflect the current competitive state of a team. The ranking system was introduced the month before the 2003 Rugby World Cup, with the first new rankings issued on 8 September 2003. World Rugby now also publishes rankings for women's teams.
The England national rugby union team competes in the annual Six Nations Championship with France, Ireland, Scotland, Italy, and Wales. They have won this championship on a total of 28 occasions, 13 times winning the Grand Slam and 25 times winning the Triple Crown, making them the most successful outright winners in the tournament's history. They are ranked third in the world by the International Rugby Board as of 7 October 2019. England are to date the only team from the northern hemisphere to win the Rugby World Cup, when they won the tournament back in 2003. They were also runners-up in 1991 and 2007.
New Zealand competes with Argentina, Australia and South Africa in The Rugby Championship. The All Blacks have won the trophy sixteen times in the competition's twenty-three-year history. New Zealand have completed a Grand Slam tour four times –1978, 2005, 2008 and 2010. The All Blacks have been named the World Rugby Team of the Year ten times since the award was created in 2001, and an All Black has won the World Rugby Player of the Year award ten times over the same period. Fifteen former All Blacks have been inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame.
The Argentina national rugby team is organised by the Argentine Rugby Union. Nicknamed the Pumas, they play in sky blue and white jerseys,
The Australia national rugby union team, nicknamed the Wallabies, is controlled by Rugby Australia. The team first played at Sydney in 1899, winning their first test match against the touring British Isles team.
The South Africa national rugby union team, commonly known as the Springboks or colloquially the Boks, is governed by the South African Rugby Union. The Springboks play in green and gold jerseys with white shorts, and their emblems are the Springbok and the King Protea. The team has been representing South Africa in international rugby union since 30 July 1891, when they played their first test match against a British Isles touring team.
The team's first match was in 1884, and their first international test match was in 1903 against Australia in Sydney. The following year, they hosted their first ever home test, a match against a British Isles side in Wellington. – their first ever test loss, against Wales.This was followed by a 34-game (including 5 tests) tour of Europe and North America in 1905, where the team suffered only one defeat
Wellington is the capital and second most populous urban area of New Zealand, with 418,500 residents. It is located at the south-western tip of the North Island, between Cook Strait and the Remutaka Range. Wellington is the major population centre of the southern North Island, and is the administrative centre of the Wellington Region, which also includes the Kapiti Coast and the Wairarapa. It is the world's southernmost capital of a sovereign state. Wellington features a temperate maritime climate, and is the world's windiest city by average wind speed.
The Original All Blacks were the first New Zealand national rugby union team to tour outside Australasia. They toured the British Isles, France and the United States of America during 1905–1906. Their opening game, on 16 September 1905, was against Devon whom they defeated 55–4. They defeated every English side that they faced, including a 16–3 victory over English county champions Durham, and a 32–0 victory over Blackheath. They defeated Scotland, Ireland, and England with the closest of the three matches their 12–7 victory over Scotland. The team's only loss of the tour was a 3–0 defeat by Wales at Cardiff Arms Park. A try claimed by winger Bob Deans was not awarded by the referee and later became a subject of controversy. However, Wales were generally considered the better team with the All Blacks playing particularly poorly in the first half of the game. They managed narrow wins against four Welsh club teams and went on to play France in France's first-ever test match. They returned to New Zealand via North America where they played two matches against Canadian teams. Overall they played a total of thirty-five matches, which included five Tests, and only lost once—the defeat by Wales.
New Zealand's early uniforms consisted of a black jersey with a silver fern and white knickerbockers. By the 1905 tour, they were wearing all black, except for the silver fern, and the name All Blacks dates from this time. The team perform a haka, a Māori challenge or posture dance, before each match. The haka has traditionally been Te Rauparaha's Ka Mate , although since 2005 Kapa o Pango has also been performed.
Knickerbockers or knickers are a form of men's or boys' baggy-kneed trousers particularly popular in the early 20th century United States. Golfers' plus twos and plus fours are breeches of this type. Before World War II, skiers often wore knickerbockers too, usually ankle-length.
The haka, a traditional dance of the Māori people, has been used in sports in New Zealand and overseas. The challenge has been adopted by the New Zealand national rugby union team, the "All Blacks", and a number of other New Zealand national teams perform before their international matches; some non-New Zealand sports teams have also adopted the haka.
Māori culture involves the customs, cultural practices, and beliefs of the indigenous Māori people of New Zealand. It originated from, and is still part of, Eastern Polynesian culture. Māori culture also forms a distinctive part of New Zealand culture and, due to a large diaspora and the incorporation of Māori motifs into popular culture, is found throughout the world. Within Māoridom, and to a lesser extent throughout New Zealand as a whole, the word Māoritanga is often used as an approximate synonym for Māori culture, the Māori-language suffix -tanga being roughly equivalent to the qualitative noun-ending -ness in English. Māoritanga has also been translated as "[a] Māori way of life."
Rugby union –almost universally referred to only as "rugby" in New Zealand –was introduced to New Zealand by Charles Monro in 1870; Monro discovered the sport while completing his studies at Christ's College, Finchley, England. The first recorded game in New Zealand took place in May 1870 in Nelson between the Nelson club and Nelson College. The first provincial union, the Canterbury Rugby Football Union, was formed in 1879, and in 1882 New Zealand's first internationals were played when New South Wales (NSW) toured the country. NSW did not face a New Zealand representative team but played seven provincial sides –the tourists won four games and lost three. Two years later the first New Zealand team to travel overseas toured New South Wales; where New Zealand won all eight of their games.
The Canterbury Rugby Football Union is the governing body for rugby union in a portion of the Canterbury Region of New Zealand. Its colours are red and black in a hooped design. The CRFU govern the running of the Canterbury representative team which have won New Zealand's first-tier domestic competition National Provincial Championship 14 times including a "six-peat" from 2008 to 2013 – with five in the National Provincial Championship, two in the Air New Zealand Cup, five in the ITM Cup and one in the Mitre 10 Cup. Their most recent victory was the 2017 Mitre 10 Cup. Canterbury also acts as a primary feeder to the Crusaders, who play in the Super Rugby competition.
The New South Wales Waratahs ( or ; referred to as the Waratahs, are an Australian rugby union team representing the majority of New South Wales in the Super Rugby competition. The Riverina and other southern parts of the state, are represented by the Brumbies, who are based in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory.
A privately organised British team, which later became the British and Irish Lions, toured New Zealand in 1888. No test matches were played, and the side only played provincial sides.The British players were drawn mainly from Northern England, but there were representatives from Wales and Scotland.
In 1892, following the canvassing of provincial administrators by Ernest Hoben, the New Zealand Rugby Football Union (NZRFU) was formed by the majority of New Zealand's provincial unions, but did not include Canterbury, Otago or Southland.The first officially sanctioned New Zealand side toured New South Wales in 1893, where the Thomas Ellison captained team won nine of their ten matches. The following year New Zealand played its first home "international" game, losing 8–6 to New South Wales. The team's first true test match occurred against Australia on 15 August 1903 at the Sydney Cricket Ground in front of over 30,000 spectators, and resulted in a 22–3 victory.
A representative New Zealand team first toured the British Isles in 1905. The side is now known as the "Originals", as the "All Blacks" name emerged during this tour when, according to team member Billy Wallace, a London newspaper reported that the New Zealanders played as if they were "all backs". –because of their black playing strip, the side was probably referred to as the Blacks before they left New Zealand. Even though the name All Blacks most likely existed before the trip, the tour did popularise it.Wallace claimed that because of a typographical error, subsequent references were to "All Blacks". This account is most likely a myth
The Originals played 35 matches on tour, and their only loss was a 3–0 defeat to Wales in Cardiff.The match has entered into the folklore of both countries because of a controversy over whether All Black Bob Deans scored a try which would have earned his team a 3–3 draw. In contrast to the success of the Originals on the field, the team did antagonise some in the Home Nations' rugby establishment; both administrators and the press complained that the All Blacks did not play the game within the amateur and gentlemanly spirit promoted by the International Rugby Football Board. This complaint continued to dog New Zealand teams until the 1930s.
The success of the Originals had uncomfortable consequences for the amateur NZRFU. In 1907, a party of professional players was assembled to tour the British Isles and play rugby league –a professional offshoot of rugby union that was played by clubs that split from England's Rugby Football Union (RFU) due to disagreements over financial compensation for players. When the "All Golds", as the team came to be known, returned they established rugby league in New Zealand, and a large number of players switched to the professional code. English and Welsh authorities were alarmed by the threat of professionalism to rugby in New Zealand, and in 1908 an Anglo-Welsh side undertook a tour to New Zealand to help promote the amateur values under which they believed sport should be played. The tourists were defeated 2–0 in the three-test series by New Zealand, but the Anglo-Welsh did manage to draw the second test 3–3.
International rugby was suspended during the First World War, –as the South African team is known –played New Zealand in a test series that ended all square. New Zealand conducted a return tour to South Africa in 1928, and the test series was again drawn; both teams winning two tests each.but a New Zealand Services team did compete in inter-services competition known as the King's Cup. After their departure from Europe the side toured South Africa before their return to New Zealand, and that tour paved the way for a South African team to tour New Zealand in 1921. The Springboks
The 1924 All Black tourists to the British Isles and France were dubbed "the Invincibles" because they won every game. However, the team was deprived of a potential grand slam when Scotland refused to play them because they were upset the tour was organised through the RFU rather than the IRFB. –including two tests –during a 30-match tour. In one of these losses, Prince Obolensky famously scored two tries to help England to a 13–0 win; their first over New Zealand.The first British Isles side since 1908 toured New Zealand in 1930. Although the Lions won the first test, the home side regrouped and went on to win the series 3–1. New Zealand toured the British Isles again in 1935–36, losing only three games
In 1937, South Africa toured New Zealand and decisively won the test series despite losing the first test; this 1937 South African team was described as the best team ever to leave New Zealand.It was not until 1949 that New Zealand next played the Springboks when they toured South Africa with Fred Allen as captain. Although each test against South Africa was very close, New Zealand lost the series 4–0.
At the same time as an All Black team was touring South Africa, Australia were touring New Zealand.The two tours coincided because Māori players were not able to go to South Africa at the time, meaning the Australians, played against a New Zealand team made up of the best Māori and the reserve non-Māori players, while the South Africans encountered the best pākehā (non-Māori) players. On the afternoon of 3 September New Zealand, captained by Johnny Smith, were beaten 11–6 by Australia in Wellington. New Zealand then lost their second test 16–9, which gave Australia a Bledisloe Cup series win in New Zealand for the first time. 1949 was an annus horribilis for the All Blacks as they lost all six of their test matches, and the experience of playing two test series simultaneously has not been repeated.
The two consecutive series losses to South Africa made their 1956 tour of New Zealand highly anticipated. New Zealand were captained by Bob Duff and coached by Bob Stuart, and their 3–1 series win was their first over the Springboks and the Springboks' first series loss that century.During the series, New Zealand introduced Don Clarke, and brought prop Kevin Skinner out of retirement to help secure the win. Skinner, a former New Zealand boxing champion, had retired from international rugby, but was convinced to return for the third and fourth tests. One reason for Skinner's selection was to "sort out" the South African props, while Clarke become known as "The Boot" for his goal kicking.
New Zealand's 3–1 series win over the Lions in 1959 proved to be the start of a dominant period in All Black rugby.This was followed by the 1963–64 tour to Britain and Ireland, led by Wilson Whineray, in which New Zealand were deprived of a Grand Slam by a scoreless draw with Scotland. The only loss on this tour was to Newport RFC, who won 3–0 at Rodney Parade, Newport on 30 October 1963. The 1967 side won three tests against the home nations, but was unable to play Ireland because of a foot-and-mouth scare. This tour formed part of New Zealand's longest winning streak, between 1965 and 1970, of 17 test victories. This was also the longest test winning streak by any nation at the time; it would be equalled by the Springboks in 1998, and surpassed by Lithuania in 2010. Although the 1966 Lions were defeated 0–4 in their New Zealand tour, there was a reversal of fortune five years later when the 1971 Lions, under the captaincy of Welshman John Dawes, beat New Zealand in a test series, which remains the Lions' only series victory in New Zealand.
The 1972–3 tourists narrowly missed a Grand Slam with a draw against Ireland.The tour was notable for the sending home of prop Keith Murdoch, who was alleged to have been involved in a brawl in a Cardiff hotel while celebrating the defeat of Wales. It was on this tour New Zealand lost 9–3 in an epic battle against Llanelli RFC littered with Welsh and British Lions caps
In 1978, Graham Mourie captained New Zealand to their first Grand Slam, including a 13–12 victory over Wales. That game generated controversy after New Zealand won as the result of a late penalty. Lock Andy Haden had dived out of a line-out in an attempt to earn a penalty, but referee Roger Quittenden insisted the penalty was against Welsh lock Geoff Wheel for jumping off the shoulder of Frank Oliver.New Zealand's only loss on the tour was the famous 12–0 defeat by Irish province Munster at Thomond Park. Later a play which focused on the loss was written by John Breen, called Alone it Stands .
For the 1960 All Blacks tour of South Africa, the South African authorities insisted that Maori players be excluded from the team. The subsequent controversy led to the New Zealand Rugby Union refusing any other tour for the following 10 years until the 1970 tour, when Maori players were accepted as "honorary whites".
The 1976 All Blacks tour of apartheid South Africa generated much controversy and led to the boycott of the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal by 33 African nations after the IOC refused to ban the team.New Zealand again failed to win the test series in South Africa: they did not do so until 1996, after the fall of apartheid and the introduction of neutral referees. The 1976 tour contributed to the Gleneagles Agreement being adopted by the Commonwealth Heads of State in 1977.
The 1981 South African tour to New Zealand sparked protests against South Africa's apartheid policy, the likes of which had not been seen in New Zealand since the 1951 waterfront dispute.The NZRU had invited the Springboks to tour as the Muldoon government refused to involve politics in sport. Although New Zealand won the test series, two of the tour's provincial games were cancelled and the whole tour was marred by violence and protest. The third and final test match of the tour is sometimes known as the Flour Bomb test, as an anti-apartheid activist in a Cessna light aircraft dropped leaflets, flares, a parachute-supported banner reading "Biko" and flour bombs into Auckland's Eden Park throughout the match, felling a New Zealand player. During the tour the country experienced unrest, and the tour had a significant impact on New Zealand society.
The 1985 All Blacks tour to South Africa was cancelled after legal action on the grounds that it would breach the NZRU's constitution.In 1986, a rebel tour to South Africa took place that had not been authorised by the NZRU and the team, named the Cavaliers, included many All Blacks. Those that participated in the tour received a ban for two tests from the NZRU when they returned to New Zealand. Allegations that players received payment for the tour were never proved.
New Zealand hosted and won the inaugural World Cup in 1987 beating France 29–9 in the final. New Zealand conceded only 52 points and scored 43 tries in six games en route to the title, beating Italy, Fiji, Argentina, Scotland, Wales and France.
By the 1991 World Cup New Zealand were an ageing side,co-coached by Alex Wyllie and John Hart. After beating hosts England in the tournament opener, they struggled during pool matches against the United States and Italy, and won their quarter-final against Canada. They were then knocked out by eventual winners Australia 16–6 in their semi-final at Lansdowne Road. In the wake of the tournament, there were many retirements, including coach Wyllie, who had enjoyed an 86% win rate during 29 tests in charge.
Laurie Mains replaced Wyllie in 1992, and was given the job of preparing the side for the 1995 event in South Africa. New Zealand were again one of the favourites to take the championship. Their status as favourites was enhanced when a young Jonah Lomu scored four tries against England in the 45–29 semi-final win.They managed to take hosts South Africa to extra time in the final, before losing 15–12 to Joel Stransky's drop goal.
The professional era in rugby union began in 1995, spurred by creation of the SANZAR group (a combination of South Africa, New Zealand and Australia)which was formed with the purpose of selling broadcast rights for two new competitions, the domestic Super 12 competition and the Tri-Nations. The first Tri-Nations was contested in 1996, with New Zealand winning all four of their tests to take the trophy. After a 1996 Tri-Nations match hosted by South Africa, won 29–18 by New Zealand, preceded a separate three-match test series between the two sides. Under new coach John Hart and the captaincy of Sean Fitzpatrick, New Zealand won a test series in South Africa for the first time. Fitzpatrick rated the series win higher than the 1987 World Cup victory in which he had participated.
The next three seasons saw mixed results for New Zealand, who won all their Tri-Nations tests in 1997 before losing the title for the first time in 1998.In 1998 New Zealand lost all five tests in the Tri-Nations and Bledisloe Cup series (two to South Africa and three to Australia), the first time they had lost four tests in succession since 1949. The following year they suffered their worst test loss, 28–7 to Australia in Sydney. At the 1999 World Cup later that year, the All Blacks dominated their pool, handing England a 30–16 defeat at Twickenham. They advanced past Scotland 30–18 in the quarter-finals to play France at Twickenham. After New Zealand finished the first half 17–10 ahead, France then produced a famous half of rugby to which New Zealand had no answer, winning 43–31. Hart subsequently resigned as coach and was replaced by co-coaches Wayne Smith and Tony Gilbert.
Under Smith and Gilbert, New Zealand came second in the 2000 and 2001 Tri-Nations, and in neither season did the side reclaim the Bledisloe Cup –which had been lost in 1998. Both coaches were replaced by John Mitchell on 3 October 2001, and he went on to coach New Zealand to victory in both the 2002 and 2003 Tri-Nations, as well as regaining the Bledisloe Cup in 2003. Mitchell's abrasive personal manner and management style, together with his coaching techniques, were the subject of some controversy both at the time and subsequently. Despite losing to England earlier in the year, the All Blacks entered the 2003 World Cup as one of the favourites and dominated their pool, running up wins against Italy, Canada and Tonga, before winning one of the most competitive matches of the tournament against Wales. They defeated South Africa in their quarter-final, a team they had never beaten at the World Cup, 29–9, but lost to Australia 22–10 in the semi-final in Sydney. Following the team's lacklustre showing in the tournament, the NZRU would terminate Mitchell's contract and install Graham Henry as national coach.
Graham Henry's tenure as coach began with a double victory over 2003 Rugby World Cup winners England in 2004. The two games had an aggregate score of 72–15, and England were kept try-less.Despite the winning start to Henry's tenure, the Tri-Nations was a mixed success with two wins and two losses. The competition was the closest ever, bonus points decided the outcome, and New Zealand finishing last. The 2004 season finished with three wins in Europe, including a record 45–6 victory over France under new captain and outside centre Tana Umaga.
2005 saw New Zealand host the touring British and Irish Lions, steered by World Cup-winning English coach Clive Woodward, and featuring a number of Northern Hemisphere stars including Jonny Wilkinson. New Zealand won all three games easily, with a young Dan Carter turning in a masterclass in the second test. The series was marred by an incident in the first test after the Lions captain, Irish centre Brian O'Driscoll, was upended in an aggressive clearout by Tana Umaga and Kevin Mealamu. O'Driscoll suffered a dislocated shoulder and would miss the rest of the tour as a result. Match footage was inconclusive at the time, and both Umaga and Mealamu escaped serious sanction.O'Driscoll and the Lions management maintained it was a deliberate spear tackle, and the controversy would both taint the All Blacks' series victory and continue for some years afterward.
That same year, they also won the Tri-Nations, and achieved a second Grand Slam over the Home Nations for the first time since 1978. They went on to sweep the major IRB (now World Rugby) awards in which they were named: Team of the Year, Henry was named Coach of the Year, and first five-eighth Dan Carter was Player of the Year.New Zealand were nominated for the Laureus World Sports Award for Team of the Year in 2006 for their 2005 performance. The following year they again took the Tri-Nations Series after winning their first five matches, three against Australia and two against South Africa. They lost their final match of the series against South Africa. They completed their end of year tour unbeaten, with record away wins over France, England and Wales. New Zealand were named 2006 IRB Team of the Year and were nominated for the Laureus World Sports Award for the second time, while flanker and newly appointed captain Richie McCaw was named IRB Player of the Year for the first time.
The 2007 season started off with two mid-year tests against France. New Zealand won the tests 42–11 at Eden Park and 61–10 at Westpac Stadium. A third game, against Canada, resulted in a 64–13 win, although the game was more competitive than the scoreline indicated.New Zealand's first Tri-Nations game of 2007 was against the Springboks in Durban, South Africa. New Zealand scored two tries in the final ten minutes of the game to win 26–21. The following week against the Wallabies at the Melbourne Cricket Ground the Wallabies upset New Zealand to win 20–15, New Zealand's first loss to Australia since 2004. The All Blacks won their following home games to successfully defend the Tri-Nations Series for 2007. New Zealand entered the 2007 Rugby World Cup as favourites, and topped their pool, beating Scotland, Italy, Romania and Portugal by at least 40 points. However, they then suffered a defeat by hosts France in the quarter-finals in Cardiff. Following the loss to France coach Graham Henry's job was reappointed amid vocal debate and comment, despite then Crusaders coach Robbie Deans being a strong contender.
The 2008 season started with three mid-year tests against Ireland and England, all of which New Zealand won.New Zealand played their first Tri-Nations game against South Africa in Wellington, winning 19–8, but a week later at Carisbrook in Dunedin they lost to South Africa 28–30, ending a 30-match winning streak at home. New Zealand played their next Tri-Nations match on 26 July against Australia in Sydney, losing 34–19 but a week later against Australia in New Zealand won 39–10. They then beat South Africa 19–0 at Newlands Stadium. New Zealand played their final match on 13 September against Australia at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane winning 28–24 and retaining the Bledisloe Cup and the Tri-Nations.
The All Blacks opened the 2009 season with a 22–27 loss to France at Carisbrook, but defeated them 14–10 in Wellington a week later. On points difference, France won the Dave Gallaher Cup for the first time. A week later the All Blacks defeated Italy 27–6 in Christchurch. They finished second in the Tri-Nations Series, behind South Africa who lost only one game, and ended the series with a 33–6 win over Australia in Wellington.
In 2010 the All Blacks won the Tri-Nations Series for the tenth time after three successive victories against South Africa, [ citation needed ] The All Blacks went through their pool matches undefeated, and after defeating Argentina, and then Australia, faced France in the final. New Zealand scored one try and a penalty to narrowly win 8–7. Henry stepped down as coach following the World Cup, and was replaced as head coach by his assistant Steve Hansen.and won the Bledisloe Cup after consecutive victories against Australia. An undefeated streak in tests that began in 2009 reached 15 matches. Despite losing the 2011 Tri-Nations after a loss to Australia in Brisbane, but still entered the 2011 Rugby World Cup as one of the favourites.
The Tri-Nations was expanded to include Argentina in 2012, and subsequently renamed The Rugby Championship. The All Blacks went undefeated in the inaugural tournament, and went through the year unbeaten until their last match of the year, where they lost to England at Twickenham. In 2013 New Zealand hosted France in a three-match series –their first meeting since the 2011 World Cup final. They won all three tests, before going unbeaten in the 2013 Rugby Championship. In November 2013, New Zealand became the first rugby nation in the professional era to achieve a 100% record in a calendar year.
At the 2014 Rugby Championship, the All Blacks drew with Australia and lost to South Africa in the away matches, but won the other four matches and the tournament. At the shortened 2015 Rugby Championship, the All Blacks lost to Australia and was runner-up in the competition. They did, however achieve a significant return victory in the second Bledisloe test that year to retain the trophy. The team entered the 2015 Rugby World Cup and again went undefeated in their pool matches. They defeated France 62–13 in the Quarter-Final, South Africa 20–18 in the Semi-Final and Australia 34–17 in the Final to become the first nation to retain their World Champion title and the first to win the Rugby World Cup three times.
The All Blacks went undefeated at the 2016 Rugby Championship, claiming bonus points at each match, under new captain and Number 8, Kieran Read and vice-captain and fullback Ben Smith. Smith and wing Israel Dagg were also the joint highest try scorers in the competition with 5 each, while first-five-eighth Beauden Barrett was the highest points scorer of the competition with 81 in total.The autumn of 2016 witnessed an historic defeat, with the All Blacks losing their first ever match to Ireland after 111 years of competition, going down by 29–40 at Soldier Field in Chicago. New Zealand redeemed the loss by defeating Ireland at home in Dublin in the return game the following week, by 21–9.
In 2017 the British and Irish Lions toured New Zealand for the second time in the professional era. The series finished in a draw, with the All Blacks and Lions recording 1–1–1. The All Blacks had won the first test 30 – 15, the Lions took the second test 24 – 21, and the final test was drawn 15–15. Like the 2005 tour, this Lions series was dogged by controversy, with the Lions' tactics (under expat Kiwi Coach Warren Gatland),the tone of local media coverage, the Red Card awarded to Sonny Bill Williams in the second test and the refereeing of French officials Romain Poite and Jerome Garces all hotly debated. The drawn series, combined with the loss to Ireland to previous year led some in the media to claim that the team were on the slide, and that the Northern Hemisphere sides were catching up. However they went on to go undefeated in the Rugby Championship 2017 season and also securing the Bledisloe Cup against rivals Australia after defeating the Aussies twice in the Rugby Championship. In October, New Zealand suffered a surprise loss to Australia 23–18, in the final Bledisloe game of the year at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. The autumn saw the All Blacks defeat a Barbarians team 32–21, France 38–18, Scotland 22–17 and Wales 33–18 to end the 2017 season.
At the start of the 2018 season, the All Black's saw off a touring French side in a 3–0 series victory, and won their first games of the Rugby Championship against Australia by 38–13 and 40–12 to keep the Bledisloe Cup for another year. Another easy win against Argentina by 46–24 followed, however the All Blacks were subsequently beaten at home in Wellington by South Africa for the first time since 2009, losing by 34–36 in a tightly contested game,before again beating Argentina by 35–17. In the return match against South Africa in Pretoria, the All Blacks trailed for much of the game but produced a thrilling comeback late the second half to win by 32–30. They would go on to post another crushing win over Australia by 37–20 in Yokohama, to confirm a Bledisloe whitewash for the year. A development side was left behind to pummel Japan 31–69, while the first team travelled to Europe for the autumn internationals. That series would prove a torrid one for the All Blacks, with a single-point victory over England (15–16) in a very closely fought test, followed by a second-ever loss to Ireland by 16–9 in a cauldron atmosphere at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. They went on to thrash Italy by 66–3 to finish their season with a win.
The current New Zealand jersey is form-fitting and entirely black (currently referred to as the 'blackest' jersey ever created) except the Adidas logo, the NZRU silver fern on the front and the AIG logo in the lower center (all of which are darkened from previously). The 1884 New Zealand tour to Australia was the first overseas New Zealand rugby tour, and featured clothing very different from today's jersey. Back then, the team donned a dark blue jersey, with gold fern on the left of the jumper.In 1893 the NZRU stipulated at its annual general meeting that the uniform would be black jersey with a silver fern and white knickerbockers. However historic photographs suggest white shorts may have been used instead during these early years. Sometime between 1897 and 1901 there was a change; by 1901 the team met NSW in a black jersey, a canvas top with no collar, and a silver fern.
In 2006, New Zealand wore an embroidered remembrance poppy on their jersey sleeve when playing France during the end-of-year tour.The poppy honours the ANZAC soldiers who died on the beaches of Gallipoli. Captain Richie McCaw said "We want to honour the overseas service of New Zealanders. It is an important part of our history as a country and a team."
During the 2011 Rugby World Cup the All Blacks had an embroidered William Webb Ellis cup on the sleeve of their jerseys with the year '1987' underneath. This was to signify which year the team had won the tournament. Each of the four teams who had won the competition had the same detailing on their jerseys.
Adidas is paying the NZRFU $200 million over nine years, expecting New Zealand to win around 75% of their matches. Nike also looked at sponsoring New Zealand in 1996, but went with Tiger Woods instead.
The change kit has traditionally been white with black shorts. After a few years playing with a change kit of grey shirt and black shorts, the NZRU announced a return to the traditional white jersey and black shorts in May 2009. For the 30 July 2011 Springboks match in Wellington, the All Black jersey introduced a white collar in homage to that sported by the 1987 World Cup-winning team.
In 2012, the NZRU took the controversial step of allowing American insurance and financial services company, AIG, to promote themselves on the centre-front of the All Black jersey. In return, the NZRU would receive direct financial sponsorship that was not revealed; the deal was estimated to be worth approximately $80 million over five years.The first sponsor to appear on the All Blacks' jersey was Steinlager, which was in the left breast of the jersey (in the opposite side to the Silver fern), which lasted between 1994 and 1999, before Adidas took over as supplier in 1999.
Adidas have been the All Blacks' kit suppliers since the 1999 Tri-Nations tournament, taking over from Canterbury, who supplied the kits since 1924.In June 2017, after releasing a special edition jersey for the impending three tests against the British and Irish Lions, it was announced that the partnership between the All Blacks and Adidas had been extended to at least 2023.
The All Blacks perform a haka (Māori challenge) before each international match. The haka has been closely associated with New Zealand rugby ever since a tour of Australia and the United Kingdom by the 1888–89 New Zealand Native football team, –a haka composed in the 19th century by Ngāti Toa leader Te Rauparaha. The 1924 All Blacks used a specially composed haka Ko Niu Tireni, but later All Blacks reverted to Ka Mate.though the New Zealand team that toured New South Wales in 1884 may also have performed a haka. The New Zealand native team that toured Britain in 1888 and 1889 used Ake Ake Kia Kaha, and the 1903 team in Australia used a mocking haka, Tupoto koe, Kangaru!. The 1905 All Blacks began the tradition of using Ka Mate
In August 2005, before the Tri-Nations test match between New Zealand and South Africa at Carisbrook stadium in Dunedin, New Zealand performed a new haka, Kapa o Pango , specially composed by Derek Lardelli and intended to reflect the Polynesian-influenced multicultural make-up of contemporary New Zealand.Kapa o Pango was to be performed on special occasions and was not intended to replace Ka Mate. Kapa o Pango concludes with what has been interpreted as a "throat slitting" gesture that led to accusations that Kapa o Pango encourages violence, and sends the wrong message to All Blacks fans. However, according to Lardelli, the gesture represents "drawing vital energy into the heart and lungs".
In November 2006, at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, New Zealand performed the haka in the dressing room prior to the match –instead of on the field immediately before kick-off –after a disagreement with the Welsh Rugby Union, which had wanted Wales to sing their national anthem after the haka. In 2008, New Zealand played Munster at Thomond Park. Before the match, Munster's four New Zealanders challenged their opponents by performing a haka before the All Blacks started theirs. On the same tour, Wales responded by silently refusing to move after New Zealand's haka, and the two teams simply stared at each other until the referee forced them to start the game.
Men's World Rugby Rankings
|Top 30 rankings as of 21 October 2019|
|*Change from the previous week|
|New Zealand's historical rankings|
|Source: World Rugby - Graph updated to 14 October 2019|
New Zealand have only ever been beaten by six test nations,and they are the only international team to have a winning record against every nation they have played. They have won 455 of their 588 test matches – 77.38% (see table), and have lost at home only 39 times. Since World Rankings were introduced by World Rugby in October 2003, New Zealand have occupied the number one ranking the majority of the time. In the decade from 2000 to 2009, New Zealand won 100 tests (92% winning percentage).
New Zealand's longest winning streak is 18 test victories (a Tier 1 joint world record), achieved between 2015 and 2016. In 2013 they won every test they played during a calendar year. The All Blacks hold the record for most consecutive test wins at home – a 47-match winning streak, achieved between 2009 and 2017.Their longest unbeaten streak is 23 tests (from 1987 to 1990) with one game being drawn.
Their all-time points record for tests stands at 16,321 points for and 7,817 against (updated 6 October 2019). Many national teams' heaviest defeats have occurred against New Zealand –the national teams of Argentina, Fiji, France, Ireland, Japan, Portugal, Samoa, South Africa and Tonga have all suffered their greatest defeats at the hands of New Zealand. The All Blacks' largest test win was 145–17 against Japan in 1995, while their heaviest loss was a 28–7 loss to Australia in 1999, equaled by a 47-26 loss (also to Australia) in 2019.
Below is summary of New Zealand test results, updated 6 October 2019:
|Rugby World Cup|
New Zealand have won the World Cup three times, the only team to have done so. They beat France in the final of the 1987 inaugural competition held in New Zealand and Australia, defeated France again in the final of the 2011 tournament, also hosted in New Zealand, and most recently defeated Australia in England in 2015, making them the first and only team to win the World Cup in consecutive tournaments. In 1991, they lost their semi-final to Australia before winning the playoff for third. In 1995, they reached the final, before losing in extra time to hosts South Africa. They finished in fourth place in 1999, after losing their semi-final and then the third-place playoff game. In 2003, New Zealand were knocked out by hosts Australia in their semi-final, before finishing third. The 2007 World Cup saw their worst tournament, being knocked out in the quarterfinals by the host nation France;until this they were the only team to have reached the semifinals of every tournament. As a result of the poor performance in the 2007 World Cup the NZRU commissioned a 47-page report to detail the causes of the failure. The All Blacks have never lost a World Cup pool match, and have finished top of their pool in all seven tournaments.
New Zealand holds several World Cup records: most World Cup Matches (50), most points in one match (145 versus Japan in 1995), most cumulative points over all World Cups (2,301), most tries overall (306), most conversions (222) and also the record for the most points scored in the first half of a knockout game at the Rugby World Cup (29, against France 2015) along with the largest knockout margin (49) in the same match.Several individual players also hold World Cup records; Jonah Lomu for most World Cup tries (15 over two World Cups)(Currently tied with South Africa's Bryan Habana), Marc Ellis with most tries in a match (6 versus Japan in 1995), Grant Fox with most points in one tournament (126 in 1987), and Simon Culhane with most points in a single game (45 versus Japan in 1995).
New Zealand's only annual tournament is a competition involving the Southern Hemisphere's top national teams. From 1996 through 2011, they competed in the Tri Nations against Australia and South Africa. In 2012, Argentina joined the competition, which was renamed The Rugby Championship. New Zealand's record of 15 tournament wins (the most recent in 2018) and 80 match wins is well ahead of the other teams' records. The Bledisloe Cup is contested between New Zealand and Australia, and the Freedom Cup between New Zealand and South Africa, as part of the Tri Nations and The Rugby Championship.
|Tri Nations (1996–2011)|
|Source: lassen.co.nz – Tri-Nations, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa |
Bonus points given by T – 4W − 2D, for T table points, W games won and D games drawn.
|Rugby Championship (2012–present)|
|Updated: 10 August 2019|
Source: lassen.co.nz – TRC, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa
Bonus points given by T – 4W − 2D, for T table points, W games won and D games drawn.
On 28 August 2019, New Zealand named their 31-man squad ahead of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
1 On 13 September 2019, Shannon Frizell was named as replacement for Luke Jacobson, who was ruled out of the competition due to delayed onset of concussion.
Fifteen former All Blacks have been inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame: Sir Fred Allen, Don Clarke, Sean Fitzpatrick, Grant Fox, Dave Gallaher, Sir Michael Jones, Ian Kirkpatrick, Sir John Kirwan, Sir Brian Lochore, Jonah Lomu, Sir Colin Meads, Graham Mourie, George Nepia, Joe Warbrick and Sir Wilson Whineray.
Joe Warbrick represented New Zealand on their historic 1884 tour to Australia, but is better known for selecting and captaining the 1888–89 New Zealand Native football team that embarked on a 107-match tour of New Zealand, Australia and the British Isles.The New Zealand Natives were the first New Zealand team to wear black uniforms, and the first to perform a haka.
Dave Gallaher played in New Zealand's first ever test match in 1903 and also captained the 1905 Originals. Along with Billy Stead, Gallaher authored the famous rugby book The Complete Rugby Footballer.At the age of only 19, George Nepia played in all 30 matches on the Invincibles tour of 1924–25. Nepia played 37 All Blacks games; his last was against the British Isles in 1930.
Sir Fred Allen captained all of his 21 matches for New Zealand, including six tests, between 1946 and 1949.He eventually moved on to coaching New Zealand between 1966 and 1968. New Zealand won all 14 of their test matches with Allen as coach.
Five hall of Fame inductees, including the first New Zealander named to the World Rugby Hall of Fame, played during the 1960s. Don Clarke was an All Black between 1956 and 1964 and during this period he broke the record at the time for All Black test points. – a record at the time – to give New Zealand an 18–17 victory over the British Isles at Dunedin in 1959. Sir Wilson Whineray played 32 tests, captaining New Zealand in 30 of them. He played prop and also number 8 between 1957 and 1965. New Zealand lost only four of their 30 tests with Whineray as captain. On 21 October 2007, Whineray became the first New Zealander to earn induction to the World Rugby Hall of Fame. In Sir Colin Meads' New Zealand Rugby Museum profile, he is described as "New Zealand's equivalent of Australia's Sir Donald Bradman or the United States of America's Babe Ruth." Meads, nicknamed Pinetree, played 133 games for New Zealand, including 55 tests. In 1999 the New Zealand Rugby Monthly magazine named Meads the New Zealand player of the century. Ian Kirkpatrick played 39 tests, including 9 as captain, between 1967 and 1977. He scored 16 tries in his test career, a record at the time.Clarke famously scored six penalties in one match
The only All Blacks Hall of Famer to debut in the 1970s was flanker Graham Mourie. He captained 19 of his 21 tests and 57 of his 61 overall All Blacks matches between 1976 and 1982. Most notably, in 1978 he was captain of the first All Blacks side to complete a Grand Slam over the four Home Nations sides.
The 1987 World Cup champions were coached by Sir Brian Lochore who had represented New Zealand in 25 tests between 1964 and 1971, including 17 as captain.He was knighted in 1999 for his lifetime services to rugby. Four of the 1987 World Cup squad that he had coached are also inductees in the Hall of Fame. Sir John Kirwan played a total of 63 tests between 1984 and 1994, scoring 35 tries, an All Blacks record at the time. In the 1987 World Cup opener against Italy, Kirwan raced 90 meters to score one of the tries of the tournament. An All Black from 1984 to 1993, Grant Fox was one of New Zealand's greatest point-scorers with 1067 points, including 645 test points. Fox played 46 tests, including the 1987 World Cup final against France. Known as The Iceman, Michael Jones was one of the greatest open side flankers of all time. Born in Auckland, New Zealand, Jones first played international rugby for Samoa, then for New Zealand, playing 55 tests between 1987 and 1998. Due to his Christian faith, Jones never played rugby on Sundays, resulting in him not playing in the 1991 World Cup semi-final against Australia, and also in him not being picked for the 1995 World Cup squad. The team's captain, David Kirk, was inducted into the World Rugby Hall alongside Lochore; all other World Cup-winning captains through 2007 (minus the already-inducted Australian John Eales) were also enshrined at this ceremony.
For many years the most capped test All Black was Sean Fitzpatrick, with 92 appearances.He played in the 1987 World Cup after incumbent Andy Dalton was injured, and was appointed All Blacks captain in 1992, continuing in the role until his retirement in 1997. He played 346 first class rugby matches.
Jonah Lomu is generally regarded as the first true global superstar of rugby union. m (6 ft 5 in) and weighed 119 kg (262 lb), making him both the tallest and heaviest back ever to play for New Zealand, he could run 100 metres in under 11 seconds. He burst on the international scene in the 1995 Rugby World Cup, scoring seven tries in the competition. Four of those tries came in New Zealand' semifinal win over England, including an iconic try in which he bulldozed England's Mike Catt on his way to the try line. He added eight more tries in the 1999 Rugby World Cup. Perhaps most remarkably, Lomu played virtually his entire top-level career in the shadow of a serious kidney disorder which ended his test career in 2002 and ultimately led to a transplant in 2004. Even with his career hampered and eventually shortened by his health issues, he scored 37 tries in 63 tests. Lomu was inducted into the World Rugby Hall in October 2011, and was specifically recognised as one of four new inductees "who had left an indelible mark on Rugby World Cup for their moments of magic, inspiration or feats".He was the youngest player ever to appear in a test as an All Black, making his debut at age 19 years, 45 days in 1994. Lomu, a wing, had unique physical gifts; even though he stood 1.96
The record for most test points for not only New Zealand, but any nation, is held by Dan Carter with 1,598 from 112 tests.He surpassed Andrew Mehrtens' All Black record total of 967 points from 70 tests in the All Blacks' win over England on 21 November 2009. On 27 November 2010 Dan Carter scored a penalty against Wales to pass Jonny Wilkinson's previous world record of 1,178 points. Carter also holds the record for points against Australia with 366.
The All Blacks' record test try scorer is Doug Howlett with 49 tries, who overtook Christian Cullen's 46 during the 2007 World Cup.The world record for tries in a calendar year is held by Joe Rokocoko, with 17 tries in 2003; he also became the first All Black to score ten tries in his first five tests, as well as the first All Black to score at least two tries in each of four consecutive tests. In test matches, the most capped All Black is Richie McCaw with 148 caps. The record for most tests as captain is held by Richie McCaw with 110. The youngest All Black in a test match was Jonah Lomu, capped at age 19 years, 45 days, whilst the oldest test player was Ned Hughes at 40 years, 123 days.
The current head coach of the All Blacks is Steve Hansen, who has held the position since 2012. He is assisted by Ian Foster and was until recently also assisted by Wayne Smith. Due to the definition and role of All Blacks coach varying so much prior to the 1949 All Blacks tour of South Africa, the following table only includes coaches appointed since.
|Tom Morrison||1950, 55–56||12||8||1||3||66.7%|
|Sir Fred Allen||1966–68||14||14||0||0||100%|
|Sir Brian Lochore||1985–87||18||14||1||3||77.8%|
|Sir Graham Henry||2004–11||103||88||0||15||85.4%|
Like other major rugby nations Argentina, Australia, France and South Africa, New Zealand does not have an official stadium for its national team. Instead, the All Blacks play their test matches at a variety of venues throughout New Zealand.
Prior to the construction of Westpac Stadium in 1999, Wellington's test venue was Athletic Park. Athletic Park was the venue for the first All Blacks test match in New Zealand against Great Britain in 1904.The first home test match played outside the main centres of Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin or Wellington was in 1996 at McLean Park in Napier.
Eden Park and AMI Stadium were upgraded in preparation for the 2011 Rugby World Cup. By that time, the NZRU no longer considered Carisbrook a suitable test venue, and a covered sports stadium was proposed as a replacement.Dunedin City Council approved the new stadium in March 2008, land acquisition proceeded from August to October of that year, and the new venue opened in August 2011, in time for the World Cup.
AMI Stadium was significantly damaged during the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake, with cracks in some stands and the playing surface badly damaged by liquefaction as well as damage to infrastructure and streets surrounding the venue. As a result of the damage all scheduled 2011 World Cup games to be held in Christchurch were moved to other regions. Test rugby returned to Christchurch in 2012 at Rugby League Park. Although the stands at that venue were damaged severely enough that they had to be torn down, infrastructure damage was much less severe than at AMI Stadium, and the playing surface survived relatively intact. The stadium was rebuilt with a permanent capacity of 17,000, with temporary seating allowing for 9,000 more spectators.
|Ground||First Test||First Test||Last Test||Tests Held||Win Percent||Last Loss|
|Athletic Park, Wellington, North Island||1904 |
v British Lions
|1904||1999||42||69%||25 July 1998|
|Tahuna Park, Dunedin, South Island||1905 |
|Potter's Park, Auckland, North Island||1908 |
v British Lions
|Carisbrook, Dunedin, South Island||1908 |
v British Lions
|38||84%||13 June 2009|
| AMI Stadium, Christchurch, South Island |
Formerly Lancaster Park and Jade Stadium
|48||81%||1 August 1998|
| AMI Stadium, Christchurch, South Island |
Formerly Rugby League Park
v. South Africa
|Eden Park, Auckland, North Island||1921 |
v South Africa
|85||84%||3 July 1994|
|Epsom Showgrounds, Auckland, North Island||1958 |
|Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, South Island||2012 |
v South Africa
|McLean Park, Napier, North Island||1996 |
v Western Samoa
|North Harbour Stadium, Auckland, North Island||1997 |
v South Africa
|Rugby Park, Hamilton, North Island||1997 |
|Westpac Stadium, Wellington, North Island||2000 |
v South Africa
|24||83%||15 September 2018|
|Waikato Stadium, Hamilton, North Island||2002 |
|12||91%||12 September 2009|
|Yarrow Stadium, New Plymouth, North Island||2008 |
|Trafalgar Park, Nelson, South Island||2018 |
The Rugby Championship is an international rugby union competition contested annually by Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. Prior to the 2012 tournament, when Argentina joined, it was known as the Tri Nations. The competition is administered by SANZAAR, a consortium consisting of four national governing bodies: the South African Rugby Union, New Zealand Rugby Union, Rugby Australia and the Argentine Rugby Union The inaugural Tri Nations tournament was in 1996, and was won by New Zealand – known as the All Blacks. South Africa won their first title in 1998, and Australia their first in 2000. Following the last Tri Nations tournament in 2011, New Zealand had won ten championships, with South Africa and Australia on three titles each. The first Rugby Championship was won by New Zealand, who won all six of their matches.
The Bledisloe Cup is a rugby union competition between the national teams of Australia and New Zealand that has been competed for since the 1930s. The frequency at which the competition has been held and the number of matches played has varied, but it currently consists of an annual three-match series and two-match series in World Cup years, with two of the matches also counting towards The Rugby Championship. New Zealand have had the most success, winning the trophy for the 47th time in 2019, while Australia have won 12 times.
New Zealand Rugby (NZR) is the governing body of rugby union in New Zealand. It was founded in 1892 as the New Zealand Rugby Football Union (NZRFU), 12 years after the first provincial unions in New Zealand. In 1949 it became an affiliate to the International Rugby Football Board, now known as World Rugby, the governing body of rugby union for the world. It dropped the word "Football" from its name in 2006. The brand name New Zealand Rugby was adopted in 2013.
The New Zealand national rugby league team has represented New Zealand in rugby league since 1907. Administered by the New Zealand Rugby League, they are commonly known as the Kiwis, after the native bird of that name. The team's colours are black and white, with the dominant colour being black, and the players perform a haka before every match they play as a challenge to their opponents. The New Zealand Kiwis are currently third in the RLIF World Rankings. Since the 1980s, most New Zealand representatives have been based overseas, in the professional National Rugby League and Super League competitions. Before that, players were selected entirely from clubs in domestic New Zealand leagues.
Richard Hugh McCaw is a retired New Zealand rugby union player. He captained the national team, the All Blacks, in 110 out of his 148 test matches, and won two Rugby World Cups. He is the most capped test rugby player of all time, and has won the World Rugby player of the year award a joint record three times.
The Fiji national rugby union team competes every four years at the Rugby World Cup, and their best performances were the 1987 and 2007 tournaments when they defeated Argentina and Wales respectively to reach the quarterfinals. Fiji also regularly plays test matches during the June and November test windows. Fiji also plays in the Pacific Tri-Nations, and has won the most Pacific Tri-Nations Championships of the three participating teams.
The Tonga national rugby union team is nicknamed ʻIkale Tahi . Like their Polynesian neighbours, the Tongans start their matches with a war dance – the Sipi Tau. They are members of the Pacific Islands Rugby Alliance (PIRA) along with Fiji and Samoa. The Ikale Tahi achieved a historic 19–14 victory over France in the 2011 Rugby World Cup, but having lost to New Zealand and Canada, were unable to achieve what would have been their first ever presence at the quarter-finals.
Sir Graham William Henry is a New Zealand rugby union coach, and former head coach of the country's national team, the All Blacks.
Bryan Gary Habana OIS is a South African former rugby union player who played as a wing. He most recently played for Toulon in the French Top 14 competition, and for the South Africa national team.
The 2006 Tri Nations Series, an annual rugby union competition between the national teams of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, marked the tenth anniversary of the original competition. With three rounds still remaining, the New Zealand All Blacks were assured of first place in the competition after their victory over Australia on 19 August, their 21st consecutive home win.
Rugby union is the unofficial national sport of New Zealand. The national team, the All Blacks, ranks as the best international team in the world. The sport has been known in New Zealand since 1870. The top domestic competitions are the semi-professional ITM Cup and amateur Heartland Championship, and above them Super Rugby, in which New Zealand has five franchises. The country co-hosted and won the first ever Rugby World Cup in 1987, and hosted and won the 2011 Rugby World Cup. They are the current world champions for men and women. They are also the current World Champions in 7s rugby for men and women.
The Māori All Blacks, previously called the New Zealand Māori, are a rugby union team from New Zealand. A representative team of the New Zealand Rugby Union, a prerequisite for playing in the team is that the player has Māori whakapapa (genealogy). In the past this rule was not strictly applied; non–Māori players who looked Māori were often selected in the team. These included a few Pacific island players and a couple of African descent. Today all players have their ancestry verified before selection in the team.
"Kapa o Pango" is a prematch haka or challenge unique to the New Zealand national rugby union team, the All Blacks, composed by Derek Lardelli. Since 2005 the "Kapa o Pango" haka has been performed before rugby test matches by the All Blacks as an alternative to the usual "Ka Mate" haka. The longest sequence of "Kapa o Pango" performances is four, which occurred in 2014.
The 2008 end of year rugby tests, also known as the Autumn internationals saw Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina, the Pacific Islanders and Canada tour the northern hemisphere. The tour ended with the traditional 'final challenge' Barbarians match, against Australia, which was the first rugby union Test at the new Wembley Stadium. Also a Bledisloe Cup match was contested by New Zealand and Australia outside of either country for the first time; held in Hong Kong with the hope of raising awareness of rugby in China.
The first clash in rugby union between Australia and New Zealand took place in a test match on 15 August 1903 in Sydney, New South Wales. On that occasion, New Zealand won 22-3.
Brodie Allan Retallick is a New Zealand rugby union footballer, who currently represents the All Blacks in international rugby, as well as the Chiefs in Super Rugby, having worked his way there by playing for the Hawke's Bay Magpies in the Mitre 10 Cup. His regular playing position is lock. He was a key member of 2015 Rugby World Cup winning team. Retallick was the winner of World Rugby Player of the Year in 2014 and is the award's youngest winner to date.
The History of the South Africa national rugby union team dates back to 1891, when the British Lions first toured South Africa where they played against South African representative sides. The South Africa national rugby union team played few international matches during a period of international sanctions due to apartheid. Since the end of apartheid in 1990–91, South Africa has once again fully participated in international rugby.
Traditionally New Zealanders have excelled in rugby union, which is regarded as the national sport, and track and field athletics.
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