New Zealand national rugby union team

New Zealand national rugby union team
New Zealand
All Blacks logo.svg
Union New Zealand Rugby Union
Emblem(s) Silver fern
Coach(es) Vacant
Captain(s) Richie McCaw
Most caps Richie McCaw (103)
Top scorer Dan Carter (1250)
Most tries Doug Howlett (49)
Team kit
Change kit
First international
 Australia 3 – 22 New Zealand 
(15 August 1903)
Largest win
 New Zealand 145 – 17 Japan 
(4 June 1995)
Largest defeat
 Australia 28 – 7 New Zealand 
(28 August 1999)
World Cup
Appearances 7 (First in 1987)
Best result Champions, 1987, 2011

The New Zealand men's national rugby union team, known as the All Blacks, represent New Zealand in what is regarded as its national sport.[1]. The All Blacks are the Rugby World Cup champions, the IRB's current Team of the Year, the leading points scorers of all time and the only international rugby team with a record winning margin against every test nation they have played. The All Blacks have held the top ranking in the world for longer than all other countries combined[2] and in over 100 years only five of the top 20 test rugby nations have beaten New Zealand.[3]

New Zealand competes annually with Australia and South Africa in the Tri Nations competition, winning the trophy a record ten times (in 1996, 1997, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010) in its 16-year history. They are the current holders of the Rugby World Cup and the Bledisloe Cup competed for annually with Australia, with the All Blacks currently on the second-longest winning streak holding the Trans-Tasman trophy since 2003. They also hold the Freedom Cup; contested annually with South Africa and have completed a Grand Slam, defeating all four Home Nations during one tour, four times (in 1978, 2005, 2008 and 2010).

The All Blacks have won over a record 75% of all rugby matches they have played since 1903 and they were named the International Rugby Board (IRB) Team of the Year in 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010 and a record fifth time in 2011.[4] Their captain, Richie McCaw, was the International Rugby Board Player of the Year for a record third time. Fifteen former All Blacks have been inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame; three of these are also inductees of the IRB Hall of Fame, and another player is a member of the IRB Hall.

The team first competed in 1884 against Cumberland County, New South Wales, and played their first Test match in 1903, a victory over Australia. This was followed by a tour of the Northern Hemisphere in 1905.

The team's early uniforms consisted of a black jersey with a silver fern and white knickerbockers. By their 1905 tour New Zealand were wearing all black, except for the silver fern, and their All Black name dates from this time. New Zealand traditionally perform a haka (Māori challenge) before each match. Traditionally, the haka performed is Te Rauparaha's Ka Mate, though since 2005 Kapa o Pango, a modified version of the 1924 All Blacks haka, Kia Whaka-ngawari, has occasionally been performed.



Introduction of rugby to New Zealand

The team that toured New South Wales, Australia, in 1884.

Rugby football was introduced to New Zealand by Charles Monro in the late 1860s; Monro discovered the sport while completing his studies at Christ's College, Finchley, England.[5] The first recorded game in New Zealand took place in May 1870 in Nelson between the Nelson club and Nelson College. The first union, Canterbury, was formed in 1879.[6] In 1882, New Zealand's first internationals were played when the Southern Rugby Union (later the New South Wales Rugby Union) toured the country. The tourists played Auckland provincial clubs twice, Wellington twice and once each against Canterbury, Otago and West Coast, North Island, winning four games and losing three. Two years later the first New Zealand team to go overseas toured New South Wales; New Zealand played and won eight games.[7]

The first tour by a British team took place in 1888 when a British Isles team toured Australia and New Zealand, but no Test matches were played. The players were drawn mainly from England and the Scottish Borders, although there were representatives from all four home unions.[citation needed]

International competition begins

The Original All Blacks during the "Haka", in 1905.

1891 saw the formation of the New Zealand Rugby Football Union representing seven unions, not including Canterbury, Otago and Southland.[8][9] The first sanctioned New Zealand side toured New South Wales in 1894 and the following year New Zealand played its first home "international" game, losing 8–6 to New South Wales.[10] The team's first true international Test match was against Australia on 15 August 1903 at the Sydney Cricket Ground, resulting in a 22–3 win.[11]

A representative New Zealand team, since referred to as the Originals, first toured Britain in 1905. Reference to the team by the name "All Blacks" first appeared 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".[12] Wallace claimed that because of a typographical error, subsequent references were to "All Blacks". This may be a myth, as the name also describes their playing uniform of black shirts, shorts and socks.[12]

The Originals' only loss on tour was 3–0 to Wales at Cardiff.[13] The match has entered into the folklore of both countries because of controversy over whether All Black Bob Deans scored a disallowed try, which would have earned them a 3–3 draw. A team representing the British Isles – known as the Anglo-Welsh since it consisted of English and Welsh players only – undertook a return tour to New Zealand in 1908 and were defeated 2–0 in the test series by New Zealand.

Development of a legacy

New Zealand's rivalry with South Africa began in 1921, when the Springboks (as the South African team is known) toured New Zealand for a Test series that finished all square.[14] New Zealand toured South Africa for the first time in 1928; this series also ended in a draw.

The 1924 All Black tourists to the United Kingdom (UK) were dubbed the Invincibles because they won every game. However, the team were deprived of the chance to complete a grand slam when Scotland refused to play them because of an argument over expenses.[15] The first truly representative British Isles (now known as British and Irish Lions) side 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 UK again in 1935–36, losing only three games (including two Tests) during a 30-match tour.[16] In one of these losses, Prince Obolensky famously scored two tries to help England to a 13–0 win, their first over New Zealand.[17]

In 1937, South Africa won a series against New Zealand when they toured New Zealand, and this 1937 South African team has been described as the best team ever to leave New Zealand.[18][19] It was not until 1949, after the end of the Second World War, that New Zealand next played the Springboks when they visited South Africa with Fred Allen as captain. The tour witnessed an infamous All Blacks record, the loss of two Test matches on the same day. This was possible because Australia were touring New Zealand at the same time. On the afternoon of 3 September New Zealand, captained by J. B. (Johnny) Smith, were beaten 11–6 by Australia in Wellington.[20] That same afternoon in South Africa New Zealand, captained by Ron Elvidge (Allen was injured), lost 9–3 to the Springboks in Durban.[21] New Zealand also lost their second Test, 16–9, which gave Australia the Bledisloe Cup for the first time. Although each Test against South Africa was very close, New Zealand lost the series 4–0. The two tours coincided because Maori players were not able to go to South Africa at the time, meaning the Australians, who were not considered strong opposition, played against a New Zealand team made up of the best Maori and the reserve non-Maori players, while the South Africans encountered the best pakeha (non-Maori) players New Zealand had. (This restriction on Maori representing New Zealand in South Africa lasted until the 1970 tour, in which Bryan Williams (rugby) famously shone.) Also on the 1949 tour, captain Fred Allen led a partial contingent of All Blacks to Rhodesia for two exhibition matches. The Rhodesia side beat the All Blacks 10-8 in Bulawayo and then drew 3-3 in the follow up match in Salisbury.

The two 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 against any opponent.[19][22] During the series, New Zealand introduced Don Clarke and brought back Kevin Skinner in the last two Tests to help secure the win.[19] Skinner, a former New Zealand boxing champion, was brought back after injuries to props Mark Irwin and Frank McAtamney and in the third test had to "sort out" both the South African props whilst Don Clarke become known as "The Boot" for his goal kicking.[23][24]

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 the UK, led by Wilson Whineray, in which New Zealand were deprived of a Grand Slam by a scoreless draw with Scotland.[25] The only loss on this tour was to Newport RFC, who won 3–0 at Rodney Parade, Newport on 30 October 1963.[26] The 1967 side won three Tests, but was unable to play Ireland because of a foot-and-mouth scare.[25] This tour formed part of New Zealand's longest winning streak, between 1965 and 1970, of 17 Test victories.[27] This was also the longest Test winning streak by any nation at the time; it would be equalled by the Springboks from 1997 to 1998 and surpassed by Lithuania in 2010.[28] 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.[25] 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.[29]

In 1978, Graham Mourie captained New Zealand to their first Grand Slam, completed with 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 the penalty awarded by referee Roger Quittenden was against Welsh lock Geoff Wheel for jumping off the shoulder of Frank Oliver.[30] New Zealand's only loss on the tour was the famous 12–0 defeat by Irish province Munster at Thomond Park.[31] Later a play which focused on the loss was written by John Breen, called Alone it Stands.[32]

Controversial tours

The 1976 All Blacks tour of 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.[33] New Zealand again failed to win the Test series in South Africa: they did not do so until 1996, after the fall of apartheid. The 1976 Tour contributed to the Gleneagles Agreement being adopted by the Commonwealth Heads of State in 1977.[34]

The 1981 South African tour to New Zealand sparked protests against South Africa's apartheid policy[35] the likes of which had not been seen in New Zealand since the 1951 waterfront dispute.[36] The NZRU had invited the Springboks to tour as the Muldoon government refused to involve politics in sport.[34] 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.[37] 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," (Steve 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.[35][37][38]

The 1985 All Blacks tour to South Africa was cancelled after legal action on the grounds that it would breach the NZRU's constitution.[38] 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.[39][40] 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.[41]

Early World Cups

The inaugural World Cup in 1987 was co-hosted and won by New Zealand, who beat France 29–9 in the final at Eden Park, Auckland. 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.[42] By the 1991 World Cup New Zealand were an ageing side,[43] co-coached by Alex Wyllie and John Hart. They struggled during pool matches against the United States and Italy, but won their quarter-final against Canada.[44] 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.[45]

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 favourites to take the championship.[46] Their role as favourites was confirmed when a young Jonah Lomu scored four tries against England in the 45–29 semi-final win.[47] However, the New Zealand team suffered an outbreak of food poisoning before the final (the source of the poisoning is heavily debated). Despite this, they took hosts South Africa to extra time, before losing to Joel Stransky's drop goal.[48][49] The allegation of food poisoning was later publicly backed by Rory Steyn, a former head of security for South African president Nelson Mandela. He was the security liaison for the All Blacks and reported in a book that a Far Eastern gambling syndicate was responsible for the outbreak by bribing a waitress.[50][51]

Professional era

The professional era in rugby union began in 1995, marked by creation of the SANZAR group (a combination of South Africa, New Zealand and Australia)[52] which was formed with the purpose of selling TV rights for two new competitions, the domestic Super 12 competition and the Tri-Nations.[52] The first Tri-Nations was contested in 1996, with New Zealand winning all four of their Tests to take the trophy.[53]

The 1996 Tri-Nations match in South Africa between New Zealand and South Africa was the first in a historic series. Under new coach John Hart and the captaincy of Sean Fitzpatrick, New Zealand won a Test series in South Africa for the first time.[54] Fitzpatrick rated the series win higher than the 1987 World Cup victory in which he had participated.[54]

The next two seasons saw mixed results for New Zealand, who won won all their Tri-Nations Tests in 1997 before losing the title for the first time in 1998.[55] 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.[56] The following year they suffered their worst Test loss, 28–7 to Australia in Sydney.[57]

New Zealand rebounded in the 1999 World Cup and 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. They finished the first half ahead 17–10.[57] France then produced a famous half of rugby to which New Zealand had no answer, winning 43–31.[57] 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. Both coaches were replaced by John Mitchell on 3 October 2001, who went on to coach New Zealand to victory in both the 2002 and 2003 Tri-Nations, as well as regaining the Bledisloe Cup, held by Australia since 1998, in 2003. After winning the 2003 Tri-Nations, they 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.[58] They defeated South Africa, a team they had never beaten at the World Cup, 29–9, but lost to Australia 22–10 in the semi-final in Sydney. Afterwards, Mitchell was fired by the NZRU and replaced by Graham Henry.

Henry's tenure began with a double victory over reigning World Champions England in 2004. The two games had an aggregate score of 72–15, with New Zealand keeping England try-less.[59][60] 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 deciding the outcome and New Zealand finishing last.[61][62] The 2004 season finished on a high, with New Zealand winning in Europe, including a record 45–6 victory over France.[63]

New Zealand playing England at Twickenham in 2006.

In 2005 New Zealand whitewashed the touring British and Irish Lions 3–0 in the Test series, won the Tri-Nations, and achieved a second Grand Slam over the Home Nations. They went on to sweep the major International Rugby Board year-end awards in which they were named Team of the Year, Henry was named Coach of the Year, and fly-half (first five) Daniel Carter was Player of the Year.[4] New Zealand were nominated for the Laureus World Sports Award for Team of the Year in 2006 for their 2005 performance.[64]

In 2006 they again took the Tri Nations Series by 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.[65] 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 Richie McCaw was named IRB Player of the Year.[4][64][66]

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.[67]

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 in Melbourne the Wallabies upset New Zealand to win 20–15, New Zealand's first loss to Australia since 2004. New Zealand won both following home games to successfully defend the Tri-Nations Series for 2007.

New Zealand entered the 2007 Rugby World Cup as favourites, and won their pool, beating Scotland, Italy, Romania and Portugal by at least 40 points. However, they then suffered a defeat to hosts France in the first knockout game, the quarterfinals. Following the loss to France coach Graham Henry's job was on the line with then Canterbury Crusaders coach Robbie Deans a likely contender as the next All Blacks coach, but Henry managed to keep his job.

The 2008 season started with three mid-year Tests, the first against Ireland at Westpac Stadium, Wellington. The final two games were against England, the first at Eden Park and the second at AMI Stadium in Christchurch. New Zealand played their first Tri-Nations game against South Africa at Westpac Stadium 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, their previous loss in New Zealand being against England in 2003. New Zealand played their next Tri-Nations match on 26 July against Australia at Stadium Australia in Sydney, losing 34–19 but a week later against Australia at Eden Park in New Zealand won 39–10. The greatest victory for New Zealand in the 2008 season was beating South Africa 19–0 on their home ground, 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 on 13 June with a 22–27 loss to France at Carisbrook, but beat France 14–10 at Westpac Stadium a week later. On points difference, France won the Dave Gallaher Cup for the first time in the nine years the two teams had competed for it. A week later the All Blacks defeated Italy 27–6 at AMI Stadium. 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, also retaining the Bledisloe Cup after consecutive victories against the Australia. During 2010 New Zealand were undefeated for 15 test matches, three wins from equalling the record of 18 consecutive wins by Lithuania.

In the 2011 Rugby World Cup, the All Blacks defeated France in the final, with a score of 8-7, to become world champions for the second time.[68]


All Blacks jerseys

The 1905 Jersey
The Adidas Jersey worn between July 1999 and August 2011

The current New Zealand jersey is entirely black except for a white collar, and with the Adidas logo and the NZRU silver fern on the front. 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.[69] In 1893 the NZRU stipulated at its annual general meeting that the uniform would be black jersey with a silver fern and white knickerbockers.[70] 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.[71]

Recently it has become traditional for New Zealand to wear an embroidered poppy on their jersey sleeve when playing France during the end-of-year tours.[72] The poppy honours the soldiers who died in the battlefields of Europe. 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."[73]

Adidas currently pays the NZRFU $200 million over 9 years, expecting New Zealand to win around 75% of their matches.[74] Nike also looked at sponsoring New Zealand in 1996, but went with Tiger Woods instead.[75]

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.

2011 saw a revolution of old and new. 30 July revealed a new All Black jersey with white standup collar at the Springboks match in Wellington. The white collar is said to be honouring the 1987 world-cup-winning team. Adidas has claimed that the performance in the jersey is 1 – 50% better than its predecessor.


New Zealand perform Ka Mate before a match against France in November 2006.

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 New South Wales in 1884. The New Zealand native team that toured Britain in 1888/89 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 and by 1914 this was firmly established as part of New Zealand rugby. The 1924 All Blacks used a specially composed haka Kia Whaka-ngawari, but later All Blacks reverted back to Ka Mate.[76]

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 "...designed to reflect the multi-cultural make-up of contemporary New Zealand – in particular the influence of Polynesian cultures".[77] Kapa o Pango was to be performed on special occasions and was not intended to replace Ka Mate.[77] Kapa o Pango concludes with what has been interpreted as a "throat slitting" gesture that was a source of controversy and led to accusations that Kapa o Pango encourages violence, and sends the wrong message to All Blacks fans.[78][79] However, according to Derek Lardelli, the gesture represents "drawing vital energy into the heart and lungs."[80]

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.[81]

In 2008, New Zealand played Munster at Thomond Park. Before the match, Munster's four New Zealanders challenged New Zealand by performing a haka before the All Blacks started theirs.[82] 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.[83]



Top 20 Rankings as of 7 November 2011[84]
Rank Change* Team Points
1 steady  New Zealand 91.43
2 steady  Australia 87.42
3 steady  France 84.70
4 steady  South Africa 84.34
5 steady  England 81.58
6 steady  Ireland 80.65
7 steady  Argentina 80.28
8 steady  Wales 80.18
9 steady  Tonga 76.63
10 steady  Scotland 76.20
11 steady  Samoa 75.81
12 steady  Italy 73.99
13 steady  Canada 72.92
14 steady  Georgia 71.09
15 steady  Japan 70.45
16 steady  Fiji 68.78
17 steady  United States 65.63
18 steady  Romania 63.98
19 steady  Namibia 61.24
20 steady  Portugal 60.67
*Change from the previous week
New Zealand's Historical Rankings
New Zealand IRB World Rankings.png
Source: IRB - Graph updated to 07/11/2011[84]

New Zealand have only ever been beaten by five nations, and are unique in being the only international team to have a winning record against every nation they have played. They have won 364 of their 484 matches – 75.2% (see table), and have lost at home only 37 times. Since World Rankings were introduced by the IRB in October 2003, New Zealand occupied the number one ranking the majority of the time.[85]

In the decade from 2000–2009, New Zealand won 100 Tests (82% winning percentage). They won 15 consecutive Tests at one point and recorded a world record 30 straight wins at home.[86]

Their all-time points difference for Tests (and international level matches) stands at 12,563 to 6,128 (as at 23 October 2011). Many national teams' worst defeat was against New Zealand – the national teams of France, Ireland, Argentina, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Japan, and Portugal all suffered a record loss to New Zealand. Only five of the top twenty test rugby nations have ever beaten New Zealand; even traditional home nations Ireland and Scotland have never beaten the All Blacks.

Their Test match record against all nations (listed alphabetically), updated to 23 October 2011, is as follows:[87]

IRB World Ranking Leaders
New Zealand national rugby union team South Africa national rugby union team New Zealand national rugby union team South Africa national rugby union team New Zealand national rugby union team South Africa national rugby union team New Zealand national rugby union team England national rugby union team New Zealand national rugby union team England national rugby union team
Opponent Played Won Lost Drawn  % Won
 Argentina 14 13 0 1 92.9%
 Australia 143 97 41 5 67.8%
 British and Irish Lions 38 29 6 3 76.3%
 Canada 5 5 0 0 100%
 England 34 27 6 1 79.4%
 Fiji 5 5 0 0 100%
 France 51 38 12 1 74.5%
 Ireland 24 23 0 1 95.8%
 Italy 11 11 0 0 100%
 Japan 2 2 0 0 100%
 Pacific Islanders 1 1 0 0 100%
 Portugal 1 1 0 0 100%
 Romania 2 2 0 0 100%
 Samoa 5 5 0 0 100%
 Scotland 28 26 0 2 92.9%
 South Africa 83 46 34 3 55.4%
 Tonga 4 4 0 0 100%
 United States 2 2 0 0 100%
 Wales 28 25 3 0 89.3%
 World XV 3 2 1 0 66.7%
Total 484 364 103 17 75.2%

World Cup

New Zealand have won the World Cup twice - in the 1987 inaugural competition held in New Zealand and Australia, and in 2011 when it was also held in New Zealand, beating France in the final. In 1991, they lost their semi-final to Australia before winning the playoff for third. In 1995, they improved by reaching 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;[88] until this they were the only team to have reached the semifinals of every tournament.[89] As a result of the poor performance in the 2007 World Cup the New Zealand Rugby Union commissioned a 47 page report to detail the causes of the failure. In 2011 the All Blacks won their second world cup after 24 years.

New Zealand hold several World Cup records: most World Cup Matches (43),[90] most points in one match (145 versus Japan in 1995),[91] most cumulative points over all World Cups (2,012),[90] most tries overall (272),[90] and most conversions (198).[90] Several individual players also hold World Cup records; Jonah Lomu for most World Cup tries (15 over two World Cups),[92] most appearances held by Sean Fitzpatrick (17 from 1987 to 1995), Marc Ellis with most tries in a match (6 versus Japan in 1995),[93] 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).[93]

New Zealand has the best record of all teams in the World Cup having a record of 2 (1st), 1 (2nd), 2 (3rd), 1 (4th). New Zealand are the only team to top their pool in every World Cup so far and not to lose a pool match.

On Sunday, the 23rd of October, the All Blacks won the 2011 Rugby World Cup against finalists France, played at Eden Park Stadium, Auckland, New Zealand.

Tri Nations and The Rugby Championship

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. From 2012, the three teams will be joined by newcomers Argentina in The Rugby Championship. New Zealand's record of ten tournament wins (the most recent in 2010) and 50 match wins is well ahead of the other teams' records. The Bledisloe Cup is also 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.

Nation Games Points Bonus
played won drawn lost for against difference
 New Zealand 72 50 0 22 1936 1395 +541 32 232 10
 Australia 72 29 1 42 1531 1721 −190 34 140 3
 South Africa 72 28 1 43 1480 1831 −351 24 138 3
 Argentina 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Updated: 11 Nov 2011


Current squad

New Zealand's 30-man squad for the 2011 Rugby World Cup was announced on 23 August.[94]

On 1 October, Dan Carter sustained a tournament-ending groin injury and was replaced in the squad by Aaron Cruden.[95]

On 9 October, Mils Muliaina sustained a shoulder fracture and Colin Slade suffered a groin tear. Stephen Donald and Hosea Gear were called into the squad to replace them.[96]

Squad and caps are current as of 16 October 2011.

Head Coach: Graham Henry
Note: Flags indicate national union for the club/province as defined by the International Rugby Board.

Player Position Date of Birth (Age) Caps Club/province
Corey Flynn Hooker 5 January 1981 (1981-01-05) (age 30) 15 New Zealand Canterbury
Andrew Hore Hooker 13 September 1978 (1978-09-13) (age 33) 61 New Zealand Taranaki
Keven Mealamu (vc) Hooker 20 March 1979 (1979-03-20) (age 32) 91 New Zealand Auckland
John Afoa Prop 10 September 1983 (1983-09-10) (age 28) 36 Ireland Ulster
Ben Franks Prop 27 March 1984 (1984-03-27) (age 27) 15 New Zealand Tasman
Owen Franks Prop 23 December 1987 (1987-12-23) (age 23) 30 New Zealand Canterbury
Tony Woodcock Prop 27 January 1981 (1981-01-27) (age 30) 82 New Zealand North Harbour
Anthony Boric Lock 27 December 1983 (1983-12-27) (age 27) 23 New Zealand North Harbour
Brad Thorn Lock 3 February 1975 (1975-02-03) (age 36) 58 Japan Fukuoka Sanix Blues
Sam Whitelock Lock 12 October 1988 (1988-10-12) (age 23) 24 New Zealand Canterbury
Ali Williams Lock 30 April 1981 (1981-04-30) (age 30) 72 New Zealand Auckland
Jerome Kaino Flanker 6 April 1983 (1983-04-06) (age 28) 47 New Zealand Auckland
Richie McCaw (c) Flanker 31 December 1980 (1980-12-31) (age 30) 103 New Zealand Canterbury
Adam Thomson Flanker 13 March 1982 (1982-03-13) (age 29) 24 New Zealand Otago
Kieran Read Number 8 26 October 1985 (1985-10-26) (age 26) 35 New Zealand Canterbury
Victor Vito Number 8 27 March 1987 (1987-03-27) (age 24) 13 New Zealand Wellington
Jimmy Cowan Scrum-half 6 March 1982 (1982-03-06) (age 29) 51 New Zealand Southland
Andy Ellis Scrum-half 21 February 1984 (1984-02-21) (age 27) 25 New Zealand Canterbury
Piri Weepu Scrum-half 7 September 1983 (1983-09-07) (age 28) 55 New Zealand Wellington
Aaron Cruden Fly-half 8 January 1989 (1989-01-08) (age 22) 8 New Zealand Manawatu
Stephen Donald Fly-half 3 December 1983 (1983-12-03) (age 27) 22 England Bath
Richard Kahui Centre 9 June 1985 (1985-06-09) (age 26) 16 New Zealand Waikato
Ma’a Nonu Centre 21 May 1982 (1982-05-21) (age 29) 65 Japan Ricoh Black Rams / New Zealand Wellington[97]
Conrad Smith Centre 12 October 1981 (1981-10-12) (age 30) 54 New Zealand Wellington
Sonny Bill Williams Centre 3 April 1985 (1985-04-03) (age 26) 13 New Zealand Canterbury
Zac Guildford Wing 8 February 1989 (1989-02-08) (age 22) 8 New Zealand Hawke's Bay
Hosea Gear Wing 16 March 1984 (1984-03-16) (age 27) 8 New Zealand Wellington
Cory Jane Wing 2 February 1983 (1983-02-02) (age 28) 31 New Zealand Wellington
Israel Dagg Fullback 6 June 1988 (1988-06-06) (age 23) 11 New Zealand Hawke's Bay
Isaia Toeava Fullback 15 January 1986 (1986-01-15) (age 25) 36 New Zealand Auckland

Notable players

Captain of the Original All Blacks and International Rugby Hall of Fame inductee Dave Gallaher.

Fifteen former All Blacks have been inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame; Fred Allen, Don Clarke, Sean Fitzpatrick, Grant Fox, Dave Gallaher, Michael Jones, Ian Kirkpatrick, John Kirwan, Sir Brian Lochore, Jonah Lomu, Sir Colin Meads, Graham Mourie, George Nepia and Wilson Whineray.[98][99]

Four former All Blacks have been inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame. David Kirk, Lomu and Whineray were inducted primarily as players, whilst Lochore was inducted primarily as a coach.[100][101]

Dave Gallaher played in New Zealand' 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.[102] At the age of only 19, George Nepia played in all 30 matches on the Invincibles tour of 1924–25.[103] Nepia played 37 All Blacks games; his last was against the British Isles in 1930.[103]

Fred Allen captained all of his 21 matches for New Zealand, including six Tests, between 1946 and 1949.[104] He eventually moved onto coaching New Zealand between 1966 and 1968. New Zealand won all 14 of their Test matches with Allen as coach.[104]

Five Hall of Fame inductees, including the first New Zealander named to the IRB 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.[105] Clarke famously scored six penalties in one match – a record at the time – to give New Zealand an 18–17 victory over the British Isles at Dunedin in 1959.[105][106] Sir Wilson Whineray played 32 Tests, captaining New Zealand in 30 of them.[107] He played prop and also number 8 between 1957 and 1965. New Zealand lost only four of their 30 Tests with Whineray as captain.[107] On 21 October 2007, Whineray became the first New Zealander to earn induction to the IRB Hall of Fame.[100] In 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."[108] Meads, nicknamed Pinetree, played 133 games for New Zealand, including 55 Tests.[108] In 1999 the New Zealand Rugby Monthly magazine named Meads the New Zealand player of the century.[108] Ian Kirkpatrick played 39 Tests, including 9 as captain, between 1967 and 1977.[109] He scored 16 tries in his Test career, a record at the time.[109]

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.[110]

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.[111] Lochore was knighted in 1999 for his lifetime services to rugby, and was also inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame on 24 October 2011 at the IRB Awards ceremony in Auckland alongside all other World Cup-winning coaches through the 2007 tournament.[101] Four of the 1987 World Cup squad that he had coached are also inductees in the International Hall of Fame, and one in the IRB Hall. John Kirwan played a total of 63 Tests between 1984 and 1994, scoring 35 tries, an All Blacks record at the time.[112] In the 1987 World Cup opener against Italy, Kirwan raced 90 meters to score one of the tries of the tournament.[112][113] An All Black from 1984 to 1993, Grant Fox was one of New Zealand' greatest point-scorers with 1067 points, including 645 Test points.[114] 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.[115] Born in Auckland, New Zealand, Jones first played international rugby for Samoa, then for New Zealand, playing 55 Tests between 1987 and 1998.[115] 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.[115][116] The team's captain, David Kirk, was inducted into the IRB Hall alongside Lochore; all other World Cup-winning captains through 2007 (minus the already-inducted Australian John Eales) were also enshrined at this ceremony.[101]

For many years the most capped Test All Black was Sean Fitzpatrick, with 92 appearances.[117] 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.[117] He played 346 first class rugby matches.[118] His test record was eclipsed by Mils Muliaina and Richie McCaw who won their 93rd caps against Ireland on 20 November 2010.

Jonah Lomu is generally regarded as the first true global superstar of rugby union.[119] 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 m (6 ft 5 in) and weighed 119 kg (262 lb), making him both the tallest[120] and heaviest[121] 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 would add 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.[122] Lomu was also inducted into the IRB Hall at the October 2011 IRB Awards ceremony, being 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".[101]

Individual records

The record for most All Black Test points (and World Record) is held by Dan Carter with 1,250 from 85 Tests.[123] He surpassed Andrew Mehrtens' All Black record total of 967 points from 70 Tests[124] in the All Blacks' win over England on 21 November 2009.[125] On 27 November 2010 Dan Carter scored a penalty against Wales to pass Jonny Wilkinson's previous world record of 1,178 points.[126] Carter also holds the record for points against Australia with 270.

The All Blacks' record Test try scorer is Doug Howlett with 49 tries, who overtook Christian Cullen's 46 during the 2007 World Cup.[127] The world record for tries in a calendar year is held by Josevata 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.[128] In Test matches, the most capped All Black is Richie McCaw with 103 caps.[129] The record for most Tests as captain is held by Richie McCaw with 63.[130] 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.[122][131][132]


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.[45] Updated: 1 November 2011

Name Years Tests Won Drew Lost Win percentage
Alex McDonald 1949 4 0 0 4 0%
Tom Morrison 1950, 5, 55–56 12 8 1 3 66.7%
Len Clode 1951 3 3 0 0 100%
Arthur Marslin 1953–1954 5 3 0 2 60%
Dick Everest 1957 2 2 0 0 100%
Jack Sullivan 1958–1960 11 6 1 4 54.5%
Neil McPhail 1961–1965 20 16 2 2 80%
Ron Bush 1962 2 2 0 0 100%
Fred Allen 1966–1968 14 14 0 0 100%
Ivan Vodanovich 1969–1971 10 4 1 5 40%
Bob Duff 1972–1973 8 6 1 1 75%
John Stewart 1974–1976 11 6 1 4 54.5%
Jack Gleeson 1977–1978 13 10 0 3 76.9%
Eric Watson 1979–1980 9 5 0 4 55.5%
Peter Burke 1981–1982 11 9 0 2 81.8%
Bryce Rope 1983–1984 12 9 1 2 75%
Sir Brian Lochore 1985–1987 18 14 1 3 77.7%
Alex Wyllie 1988–1991 29 25 1 3 86.2%
Laurie Mains 1992–1995 34 23 1 10 67.6%
John Hart 1996–1999 41 31 1 9 75.6%
Wayne Smith 2000–2001 17 12 0 5 70.5%
John Mitchell[133] 2002–2003 28 23 1 4 82.1%
Graham Henry[134] 2004–2011 103 88 0 15 85.4%

Home grounds

Like the other two countries in the Tri Nations, New Zealand does not have an official stadium for its national team. Instead, New Zealand 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.[135] The first home Test match played outside the main centres of Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin or Wellington was in 1996 at McLean Park in Napier.[136] The 1987 Rugby World Cup final was played at Eden Park.

Eden Park and AMI Stadium were upgraded in preparation for the 2011 Rugby World Cup. In 2006, the Government of New Zealand proposed the construction of a waterfront National Stadium in Auckland as an alternative to Eden Park's upgrade; this proposal was rejected by the Auckland Regional Council.[137] The NZRU no longer considers Carisbrook as a suitable Test venue (it did however get a Test Match against South Africa in 2008 and had one against Wales in 2010); a covered sports stadium was proposed as a replacement.[138] Dunedin City Council approved the new stadium in March 2008,[139] land acquisition proceeded from August to October of that year,[140] 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.

Ground Record Recent Win Recent Draw Recent Loss
AMI Stadium, Christchurch (formerly Lancaster Park and Jade Stadium) 80% 2010 (AUS) N/A 1998 (AUS)
Athletic Park, Wellington 69% 1999 (FRA) 1962 (AUS) 1998 (RSA)
Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin N/A
Eden Park, Auckland 81% 2011 (FRA) 1994 (RSA) 1994 (FRA)
Westpac Stadium, Wellington 88% 2011 (CAN) N/A 2003 (ENG)
Waikato Stadium, Hamilton 88% 2011 (JPN) N/A 2009 (RSA)

Venues of All Black Tests in New Zealand

Ground First Test First Test Last Test Tests at that ground Win Percentage
Athletic Park, Wellington, North Island 1904
v British Lions
1904 1999 42 69%
Tahuna Park, Dunedin, South Island 1905
v Australia
1905 1905 1 100%
Potter's Park, Auckland, North Island 1908
v British Lions
1905 1905 1 100%
Carisbrook, Dunedin, South Island 1908
v British Lions
1908 2011
v Fiji
38 86%
AMI Stadium, Christchurch, South Island
Formerly Lancaster Park and Jade Stadium
v Australia
1913 2010
v Australia
48 81%
Eden Park, Auckland, North Island 1921
v South Africa
1921 2011
v France
71 81%
Epsom Showgrounds, Auckland, North Island 1958
v Australia
1958 1958 1 100%
McLean Park, Napier, North Island 1996
v Western Samoa
1996 1996 1 100%
North Harbour Stadium, North Shore City, North Island 1997
1997 2005 6 100%
Rugby Park, Hamilton, North Island 1997
v Argentina
1997 1997 1 100%
Westpac Stadium, Wellington, North Island 2000
v Australia
2000 2011
v Canada
16 88%
Waikato Stadium, Hamilton, North Island 2002
v Italy
2002 2011
v Japan
8 88%
Yarrow Stadium, New Plymouth, North Island 2008
v Samoa
2008 2010
v Ireland
2 100%
TOTAL 236 81.78%

North Island

South Island

  • Tahuna Park, Carisbrook, Forsyth Barr Stadium at University Plaza, Dunedin
  • AMI Stadium, Christchurch (Formerly Lancaster Park and Jade Stadium)

See also


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  • Gifford, Phil (2004). The Passion – The Stories Behind 125 years of Canterbury Rugby. Wilson Scott Publishing. ISBN 0-9582535-1-X. 
  • Howitt, Bob (2005). SANZAR Saga – Ten Years of Super 12 and Tri-Nations Rugby. Harper Collins Publishers. ISBN 1-86950-566-2. 
  • Palenski, Ron (2003). Century in Black – 100 Years of All Black Test Rugby. Hodder Moa Beckett Publishers Limited. ISBN 1-86958-937-8. 

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