Thursday, September 17, 2009



1884 - the year of the first NZ representative football team

The young colony of New Zealand faced good prospects while it could produce young men with sound minds in sound bodies, according to the Governor in 1884, Sir William Jervois. It was an optimism that proved not to be displaced. Jervois, an Englishmen as governors were in those days, made his remarks at a welcome home dinner to the first representative New Zealand football team in 1884. The team, organised privately and made up of players from Auckland, Wellington, Canterbury and Otago, had just returned from a tour of New South Wales where they played eight matches without defeat, scoring 167 points and conceding just 17.
The New Zealand national rugby union team, known as the All Blacks, is the representative side of New Zealand in rugby union. Rugby union is regarded as the country's national sport. New Zealand has a winning record against every international rugby team they have played, including the British and Irish Lions.
New Zealand compete annually with Australia (the Wallabies) and South Africa (the Springboks) in the Tri-Nations Series, and have been Tri-Nations champions nine times in the tournament's 13-year history. New Zealand also holds the Bledisloe Cup, which they currently contest annually with Australia and which includes Tri-Nations games between the countries. They have three times completed a Grand Slam (in 1978, 2005 and 2008) of the four Home Nations.
(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
New Zealand are the number two ranked team in the IRB World Rankings and were named the International Rugby Board (IRB) Team of the Year in 2005, 2006 and 2008. Fourteen former All Blacks have been inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame, one into the IRB Hall of Fame.
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.
(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

The 1905 jersey
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A New Zealand Rugby Union International Jersey, above, worn by George Gillett in the match against Wales December 1905, tie string neck with shoulder pieces, minor wear and tear. This was one of the original tour shirts manufactured in New Zealand and not from the later batch produced in the U.K. George Arthur Gillett (1877-1956), was a full back or occasional wing forward appearing for Auckland before winning eight International caps for New Zealand. He played in 24 matches on the 1905/06 tour including the four internationals, all at full back. After retirement he was involved with Rugby League administration as well as being a hotel publican.
(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Dave Gallaher, captain of the Original All Blacks (1905)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The current jersey
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The 1905 Original All Blacks
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

All Blacks 1905
By Frederic Humbert at

All Blacks 1905 - casual wear !
By Frederic Humbert at

In 1905, New Zealand’s All Blacks rugby team

The 1905 "All Blacks" are recognised as the team that defined New Zealand rugby union. On their tour of the United Kingdom, they swept all before them, losing just one match. Their style-of-play and crowd popularity reinvigorated English rugby union. A century on, numerous books and countless newspaper and magazine articles laud the achievements of the All Blacks of 1905. Rarely mentioned though is the effect and influence they had on two other football codes - rugby league and Australian rules.
If not for the 1905 All Blacks, rugby league would have faded away in England, and never arrived in New Zealand or Australia. The rugby states of NSW and Queensland would have fallen to Australian rules - there probably would not have been any Wallabies, no Bledisloe Cup and no cross-Tasman football rivalry.
Amidst the story of Australasian rugby's rise in popularity at the dawn of the twentieth century, the NSWRU and NZRU constantly fought over money and tour arrangements - relations were so poor that the 1899 British team were prevented by the NSWRU from playing in New Zealand, and the 1904 visit across the Tasman only went ahead at the last moment.
Dissatisfied with its so-called "brother Union", the NZRU negotiated with the English RFU for a New Zealand team to tour Britain in 1905 - the first official rugby visit from the southern hemisphere. Discarding notions of an "Australasian" team, New Zealand determined to go it alone against the Home nations.
In Britain in the northern winter of 1905/06, the All Blacks showcased the attacking style of rugby developed in New Zealand - players would refuse to fall with the football in hand, always looking for a support player, to continue the movement and attack the opposition line. Their objective was to avoid scrums, rucks and mauls, to keep the play continuous, and wear down their opponents with rapid passing movements and spectacular back play. As a result, the All Blacks attracted supporters to their matches in their tens of thousands. They also caught the attention of the Northern Union's professional rugby league clubs.
While it is well-known that George Smith and some of his All Blacks team mates were courted by the administrators of English rugby league, and agreed to return with the "All Golds" team in 1907, the All Blacks left another lasting legacy in England.
(Sean Fagan, The Rugby Rebellion

All Blacks 1907
posted by Frederic at

The English rugby league, desperate to re-invigorate their income-driven game, were mesmerised by the popular and entertaining style of the All Blacks. To bring about "All Blacks style rugby" on a weekly basis amongst their own club footballers, rugby league made two significant rule changes the following season. The first was to reduce the number of players on each team from 15 to 13, to create more space for attacking rugby. The second was to mimic the All Blacks preference to avoid scrums, rucks and mauls - rugby league introduced the play-the-ball. Suddenly, rugby league found new crowd-appeal - just in time for its introduction to New Zealand and Australia. Before the 1905 All Blacks, NSW footballers and supporters were increasingly swaying toward adopting Australian rules.
The changes the English rugby league made in 1906/07, as a direct result of the 1905 All Blacks' British tour, together with the tour's financial success, convinced footballers and entrepreneurs in Auckland, Wellington and Sydney to form rugby league. In the four seasons after the 1905 All Blacks, the concept of regular tours between northern and southern hemisphere rugby teams (in both codes) was established, giving birth to the Kangaroos, Kiwis and Lions in League, and the Springboks and Wallabies in Union. Had the 1905 All Blacks never been formed, or not been such a success, professional rugby league may never have come to Australia and New Zealand.
(Sean Fagan, The Rugby Rebellion
But the first official international was against Australia in August 1903 when Billy Wallace, one of the game's immortals, scored the first points. Wallace scored 246 points in 26 matches on the 1905 tour and Jimmy Hunter scored 42 tries. The captain, Dave Gallaher was known for his innovative role as a "rover" outside the scrummage. Just one match of the 32 was lost, 3-0 to Wales and that with a "try" by All Black Bob Deans that never was, and which has caused interest and debate ever since. The referee John Dallas of Scotland was said to be a long way behind the play and Deans later sent him a telegram: "Grounded ball six inches over line. Some Welsh players admit try. Hunter and Glasgow can confirm was pulled back before referee arrived. Deans." On such determination and fortitude was the All Blacks legend built.
The All Blacks received the Springboks in 1921 and returned to Britain in 1924. They had a trial run in Australia which came a cropper with a defeat by New South Wales (later classified as a Test match). At home before departing for Britain they were beaten 14-3 by Auckland. The "worst team ever fielded" was one unkind description. But this team became Cliff Porter's "Invincibles", travelling through the British Isles unbeaten in 28 matches, scoring 654 points to only 98.
(Team History at

The All Blacks League team of 1911 which toured Australia

All Blacks during WWI
NZ Trench Team vs Army Service Corps (UK)
Richmond, 1917
The Graphic Feb 24, 1917
From Frederic Humbert at

Touring to France (Toulouse / Paris)
from Frederic Humbert at

M.F.Nicholls, 1921-1928
"With the All Blacks in Springbokland"
By M.F.Nicholls, 1928
From Frederic Humbert at

The All Blacks 1928
'A Sporting Holiday in New Zealand'
W.D.&H.O. Wills Cigarette cards

All Blacks, tour in South Africa, 1928
"With the All Blacks in Springbokland"
By M.F.Nicholls, 1928
From Frederic Humbert at

The 1930s were years of mixed success and defeats by England and Wales in 1935 and a lost series at home to the Springboks in 1937. Despite the apartheid bar in South Africa which prevented the selection of Maori players by New Zealand, touring carried on there and in 1949, under Fred Allan, the All Blacks lost all four Tests. A 17 year old full-back called Don Clarke announced himself with six points for Waikato in the Ranfurly Shield in 1951 but he did not achieve Test status until 1956. Clarke's straight-on goal kicking helped him to 207 points in 31 Tests as the All Blacks moved into the 1960s. Great memories included Clarke's six penalty goals in a Test win over the Lions at Dunedin in 1959 and a 60 yard dropped goal against the 'Boks a year later.
(Team History at

Springboks vs All Blacks, 1956

This scene (above) shows action from the second test of the 1956 series at Athletic Park, Wellington. The Springboks won 8–3, but the All Blacks prevailed in the series 3–1. After the 4–0 hammering at the hands of their great rivals in 1949, the victory in the fourth and final test at Eden Park was received with euphoria by All Blacks fans, and national pride was restored.
At the same time the All Blacks seemed to become less adventurous. It was time for some great forwards to occupy pole position in the hearts of New Zealand rugby fans. Colin "Pine Tree" Meads, said to run up hills with a sheep under either arm, was one typical of the hard-nosed brigade. Meads had his low moments, including being sent off in Scotland, but he won 55 caps and was undoubtedly one of the finest locks of all time.
Wilson Whineray, Kel Tremain and Brian Lochore were other colossuses bestriding world rugby at the time. Occasionally they cut loose, as when destroying the Barbarians at the end of the 1963 tour with an outrageous try by Whineray. In 1967 there was a 17-match unbeaten tour of the British Isles, France and Canada, and wins over Australia and South Africa inside the next three seasons cemented the All Blacks as the world's best.
The 1972-3 tourists to the British Isles carried this weight of expectancy and, nothwithstanding the sour Keith Murdoch affair, played some fine rugby in front of an audience increasingly aware of them through the media. Ireland drew with them 10-10 but the other three Tests were won, including against Wales who at the time might have had pretensions to world-beating status.
The production line of kids desperate to wear the black jersey continued to roll through the 70s and 80s. Bryan Williams, Stu Wilson, Dave Loveridge, Bernie Fraser and company proved that All Black back play could be exciting. Up front the generations turned until new maestros such as Wayne Shelford and Michael "Iceman" Jones took their places in All Black folklore.
(Team History at

Wilson Whineray
© Getty Images

Wilson Whineray, the All Blacks' longest serving captain, played between 1957 and 1965 and was inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame in 2007. He was considered by many to have been New Zealand's greatest captain.
(Copyright © 2006. Rugby Dirt)

Munster's Historic Day 1978
Munster beat The All Blacks 12-0
Thomond Park, Ireland
Image © Inpho Photography, Statistical Data © SFMS

The first Rugby World Cup of 1987, although lacking the isolated South Africans, was a fitting stage for New Zealand to be crowned world champions officially. There was scarcely a threat to their path to the final and a 29-9 victory over the reigning Five Nations champions France at Eden Park. Oxford University scholar and scrum-half David Kirk lifted the Webb Ellis Trophy. The 1991 World Cup team were accused of being uncommunicative but they had quality all the same, and lost to Australia in the semi-final in Dublin. In 1995 new stars like Andrew Mehrtens and Jonah Lomu had emerged but the force was with host nation South Africa in the final. Now there are wonderfully creative but powerful backs such as Christian Cullen and Jeff Wilson to carry the All Black tradition forward. It is in good hands.
(Team History at

From AGUDO Comunicación AT

The most famous face in international rugby during the past decade, and arguably the game's biggest superstar, was New Zealand's Jonah Lomu (above). Tall, muscular, bronzed and fiercely competitive, Lomu was nothing short of a phenomenon at his peak. When just 19, he exploded onto the international scene during the 1995 World Cup in South Africa, scoring eight ties and helping the All Blacks reach the final. In a game dominated by one-on-one attack, Lomu was a behemoth who mesmerized fans the world over. The crowds loved him, the stadiums swayed in tumultuous cheer whenever he walked out or led the All Blacks in the haka or bulldozed past a defensive line.
(Copyright © 2006. Rugby Dirt)

2006 Tri-Nations New Zealand vs Australia
The All blacks performing the Haka before the match
Copyright © 2006. Rugby Dirt

New Zealand fought off a brave Ireland, 2007
Getty Images: Marty Melville at

Chris Jack makes a run for the All Blacks, 2007
AP: Andrew Cornaga/Photosport at

The front rows
All Blacks training session
Durban S. Africa, 2007

The All Blacks take a bow
The All Blacks met Roumania in Toulouse, 2007

So much for those invincible All Blacks
Australia's 20-15 win against all the odds, 2007

All Blacks centre Ma'a Nonu breaks away
2008 Tri-Nations
AAP: Andrew Cornaga at

Pulsating clash... Sam Cordingley is upended by Mils Muliaina
Tri-Nations and Bledisloe trophies, 2008
Lang Park in Brisbane
Getty Images: Johnathan Wood at

All Blacks v Wallabies
Bledisloe Cup Hong Kong 2008
Posted by richseow at

Dave Gallaher Cup, 2009
All Blacks square series but lose silverware, 2009
Ma'a Nonu crosses for the All Blacks' try
AFP: Franck Fife at

The big dog of rugby performing the Haka
Image from

The All Blacks perform a haka (Māori war style dance) 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 1889/89 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.
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". 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 was a source of controversy and led to accusations that Kapa o Pango encourages violence, and sends the wrong message to All Blacks fans. However, according to Derek Lardelli, the gesture represents "drawing vital energy into the heart and lungs."
(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Before the actual performance, the leader of the haka will utter a few refrains such as the one below. Its purpose is to remind the performers to conduct themselves in a proper manner when presenting the haka. The haka should be shouted out in a ferocious and staccato manner, with the power and force required in instilling strength and determination.

Ringa pakia
Uma tiraha
Turi whatia
Hope whai ake
Waewae takahia kia kino

Slap the hands against the thighs
Puff out the chest
Bend the knees
Let the hip follow
Stamp the feet as hard as you can!

Of course, the haka would not be a haka if you miss several essentials. It is very important to do the pukana (dilating of the eyes), whereto (protruding of the tongue performed by men only), ngangahu (similar to pukana, performed by both sexes), and potete (the closing of the eyes at different points in the dance, performed by the women only). These expressions will further emphasize the meaning of the words. An important aspect is to remember that the haka is not uniformly enacted with all the participants acting in time. Instead, the best haka involves a good deal of spontaneity and creativity as the performers interpret the words themselves.
With time, the All Blacks rendition of the Ka Mate has undergone several changes. It is more impressive now, probably to suit the game of rugby. The All Blacks used the haka in their first overseas tour in 1905 when they were known as the “Originals”. However, with that match, they became known as the “All Blacks. The name change in addition to the haka created two of the most distinctive features for the New Zealand team. From then on, the haka became a permanent element for the All Blacks.
The words of Ka Mate, "The Haka" does not have direct relevance to rugby. The 'loose' translation of the haka challenge for the All Blacks could be written down as:

"We are the All Blacks, of the New Zealand people.
Here we are to face you.
We will do you the honor of playing to the limits
that our hearts and sinews impose upon us.
We will be very hard to beat.
Whiti te ra! Hi!”
(By Audrey Goh at

1 comment:

Jenny Lobrigo said...

Their team is just interesting. Many teams are inspired by them. And it would be very important to watch those teams. Rugby holidayscan be a very good idea.