Legends of the Sport: Looking at the New Zealand All Blacks

feature7 - Legends of the Sport: Looking at the New Zealand All Blacks

Everyone has their own favorite rugby union team. That much is expected. In order to give our readers a great idea of some teams, we will be doing article profiles on them. Today, we will start with the New Zealand All Blacks!

If you were to ask anyone who does not follow rugby about any team that they know, chances are they are going to give the New Zealand All Blacks as a reply. More likely, they will start describing the “team that does that weird chant thing”. While that is one way to describe the All Blacks, it will be important to really know the details about them.

That is what we hope to accomplish with this article. Let’s get started!

History

Origins

It was in 1870 that the sport of rugby was brought to New Zealand by Charles Monro. Monro had spent some time in England and picked up the sport from there. It was later that year that the first ever game of rugby was recorded. The spread was slow in coming but it eventually picked up steam and around nine years later, the first ever rugby union in New Zealand was born.

It was in 1882 when the first international match of New Zealand occurred. This was when the rugby team of New South Wales came to the country for their tour. What was odd about this was the fact that there was no single representative team for New Zealand. What had happened was there were several provincial teams that fought New South Wales in different matches.

The idea of a single international team was being thrown around but only crystallized around 1892. It was not until the year after that the first official team managed to make a tour where they managed to win at 9 out of their 10 bouts.

If you were wondering when the name “All Blacks” came about, so were we! While there was a team that was going around and joining international bouts, they were not called the All Blacks. Instead, they were called Originals. While there was some question as to where their name originated, it was clear that by the time they were doing their tours, they were referred to as Blacks or All Blacks.

They went on to continue making a name for themselves in the future tours they made in South Africa. In 1924 they were called “The Invincibles” as they won match after match. What was sad about this is that the final team that they were supposed to fight refused to play over the grounds that the organizer was not the IRFB.

Struggle

The All Blacks had it rough as an international rugby team. While they were a dominant force on the field, it was the discrimination and the politics that went on behind the scenes that impeded a majority of their tours in the early 1900s. A lot of the South African bodies had literally demanded that Maori players (which are what the All Blacks are primarily comprised of) should be excluded from joining their national team.

This is like asking an all-meat menu restaurant to not serve you any steaks come dinner time. The All Blacks had tours in South Africa around 1976. The trouble with this was that the Apartheid was in complete control and refused to recognize the All Blacks as a legitimate team as they were not comprised of White players.

While the All Blacks were still winning their matches, every match was marred with violence and protests. There were strong calls to deport the All Blacks or even throw them in jail for the simple fact that they had the gall to play a game that was “meant” for white people.

International Triumphs

As the All Blacks were indeed comprised of physically dominant athletes, it was little wonder that they won the World Cup held on 1987. However, they struggled with the strategic form of their play styles. While they were physically imposing, they lacked the ability to make smart plays. As such, they had several seasons where they almost won or had wins only to lose in the end.

It was the appointment of Graham Henry as the coach of New Zealand that the massive victories started to pour in. They managed to secure a back to back win in the World Cup of ’03 and ’04. Everyone thought that they would keep their winning trend. However, as the way life goes, they did not. The All Blacks were consistently a favorite by the international fans.

In 2011, Henry was replaced by Steve Hansen. Hansen was once the assistant coach of the All Blacks. Under his tutelage, the All Blacks went through much of 2012 as an unbeaten team until they fought England. In the following year, the All Blacks were successful in obtaining the championship. They are arguably known to be the first national team to ever obtain a 100% win rate for a whole year.

While they disappointed at the 2015 Rugby Championship with their runner-up position, they did dominate in the World Cup. This win would mean that they had managed to secure the Rugby World Cup for the third time in their career history.

In the year of 2016, they finally won the Rugby Championship but did not do so well in the World Cup. It has been quite a journey for the All Blacks and they are still going to continue with their dominating presence in the field.

In Conclusion

The NZ All Blacks continue to be well-known around the world even to those who do not actually follow the sport. The All Blacks continue to inspire and intimidate people all over the world with their massive physiques and intense nationalistic pride in their culture.

We hope that they will continue to inspire and intrigue people. This will certainly end up stimulating the spark of more rugby fans the world over! What do you guys think of the New Zealand All Blacks?

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Image source: sport360.com

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