The New Zealand Rugby Football Union is the governing body of rugby union in New Zealand. It was founded in 1892 and is affiliated to the International Rugby Board the sport's governing body.
The All Blacks is the national rugby union representative team of New Zealand. (In Wales, the name can refer to Neath Rugby Club.)
The first usage apparently dates from the first tour of Britain by a New Zealand national rugby team, given the title The Originals, in 1905/1906. (According to Greg Ryan there was also a tour of Britain in 1888/1889 by The New Zealand Native Football Representatives).
According to Billy Wallace, one of the members of the Originals, the name originated in a London newspaper's description of the New Zealand representatives playing as if they were all backs. Other sources suggest that it is more likely that the name originated in the black uniform worn by the players, with earlier reference to "the Blacks" as a common type of nickname at the time (New Zealand Rugby Museum on this topic).
Later (in 1925 when the Invincibles toured the Home Countries) the entirely black playing uniform was emblazoned with the Silver fern symbol.
The All Blacks perform a Maori war dance, the haka, before each international match.
For much of the 20th century, rugby union appeared to be New Zealand's national religion, with selection to the All Blacks perhaps more highly regarded than a knighthood. The All Blacks have always been recognised as a formidable power in world rugby. They have experienced many highs, such as winning the World Cup, but also a unique low when they lost two test matches on the same day, September 3, 1949. On that day they lost 6-11 to the Wallabies in Wellington, and 3-9 to the Springboks in South Africa.
The All Blacks have had considerable success in international competition, with particular traditions of defeating the South African Springboks and the Australian Wallabies. Since the introduction of professional sport, however, New Zealand's small size and lack of financial sporting resource have seen strong challenges to New Zealand's former dominant position in international rugby.
However, still no international rugby team has more wins than losses against the All Blacks. A number of rugby playing nations have never beaten the All Blacks at all, despite in some cases over a hundred years of trying. These include Argentina, Canada, Fiji, Ireland, Italy, Samoa, Scotland, and Tonga (although Scotland have drawn twice and Ireland once), to name but a few. Therefore the All Blacks are still the most successful international rugby team in history.
Their record in rugby world cups is 1st, 2nd, twice 3rd, & 4th.
Their test match record against leading nations (listed in order of total matches; updated to 21 November 2004) is as follows:
| ||Won||Lost||Drawn |
|Against: South Africa||35||27||3|
|Against: British & Irish Lions||20||5||2|
Other representative rugby union teams
- Black Ferns : Women's national representative Rugby team
- New Zealand Maori : National representatives of Maori ethnic origin or ancestry. Historically this also included any players of non-European ethnic origin--those unable to play the Springboks in South Africa.
- New Zealand A : National representative team occasionally fielded in New Zealand when All Blacks are on tour. Made up from top players not selected as All Blacks.
In New Zealand sporting circles, the branding of the All Blacks and the honour of "wearing the Silver Fern" has encouraged other sporting codes to adopt derivational nicknames:
The first New Zealand national rugby league team was nicknamed the All Golds by the New Zealand press, a derogatory pun based on the fact that rugby league players were professional. The team are now known as The Kiwis.
Some famous All Blacks
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