All Blacks
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All Blacks

New Zealand
Shirt badge/Association crest
Nickname(s)All Blacks
EmblemSilver-fern frond
UnionNew Zealand Rugby
Head coachIan Foster
CaptainSam Cane
Most capsRichie McCaw (148)
Top scorerDan Carter (1598)
Top try scorerDoug Howlett (49)
World Rugby ranking
Current2 (as of 2 November 2019)
Highest1 (2009-2019)
Lowest3 (2003, 2019)
First international
Australia 3-22 New Zealand
(Sydney, Australia; 15 August 1903)
Biggest win
New Zealand 145-17 Japan
(Bloemfontein, South Africa; 4 June 1995)
Biggest defeat
Australia 47-26 New Zealand
(Perth, Australia; 10 August 2019)
Australia 28-7 New Zealand
(Sydney, Australia; 28 August 1999)
World Cup
Appearances9 (First in 1987)
Best resultChampions, 1987, 2011, 2015

The New Zealand national rugby union team, commonly known as the All Blacks, represents New Zealand in men's international rugby union, which is considered the country's national sport.[1] The team won the Rugby World Cup in 1987, 2011 and 2015.

New Zealand has a 77 per-cent winning record in test-match rugby, and is the only international men's side to have secured more wins than losses against every opponent. Since their international debut in 1903, New Zealand teams have played test matches against 19 nations, of which 12 have never won a game against the All Blacks. The team has also played against three multinational all-star teams, losing only eight of 45 matches. Since the introduction of the World Rugby Rankings in 2003, New Zealand has held the number-one ranking longer than all other teams combined.[2] They jointly hold the record for the most consecutive test match wins for a tier-one ranked nation, along with England.

The All Blacks compete with Argentina, Australia and South Africa in the Rugby Championship, and have won the trophy sixteen times in the competition's 23-year history. The team has completed a Grand Slam tour against the four Home Nations four times (1978, 2005, 2008 and 2010). World Rugby has named New Zealand the World Rugby Team of the Year ten times since the award was initiated in 2001,[3] 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 team's first match took place in 1884 in New South Wales and their first international test match in 1903 against Australia in Sydney. The following year New Zealand hosted their first-ever home test, a match against a British Isles side in Wellington.[a] There followed a 34-game tour of Europe and North America in 1905 (which included five test matches), where New Zealand suffered only one defeat: their first-ever test loss, against 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 performs a haka before every match; this is a M?ori challenge or posture dance. Traditionally the All Blacks use Te Rauparaha's haka Ka Mate, although players have also performed Kapa o Pango since 2005.


Introduction of rugby to New Zealand

Photo of team players and management all of whom are seated or standing, in three rows, wearing their playing uniform and caps.
The New Zealand team that toured New South Wales in 1884

Rugby union, known almost universally in New Zealand as just "rugby", was introduced to the nation by Charles Monro in 1870;[4] he had discovered the sport while completing his studies at Christ's College in Finchley, England.[5] The first recorded game in New Zealand took place in May 1870 in the city of Nelson, between the Nelson rugby club and Nelson College.[6] The first provincial union, the Canterbury Rugby Football Union, was formed in 1879,[7] and New Zealand's first internationals were played in 1882 when the "Waratahs" from New South Wales toured the country.[8] The Australian team did not face a New Zealand national team but played seven provincial sides; the tourists won four games and lost three.[9] Two years later, the first New Zealand team to travel overseas toured New South Wales, winning all eight of their games.[10]

A privately organised British team, which later became the British and Irish Lions, toured New Zealand in 1888. The visitors only played provincial sides and no test matches were played.[11] Wales and Scotland were represented in the British team, but the players were drawn mainly from Northern England.[12]

International competition begins

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.[13][b] 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.[14][15] The following year New Zealand played its first home "international" game, losing 6-8 to New South Wales.[c][16] 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.[17]

The Original All Blacks that toured the British Isles, France and the United States during 1905-06. The team won 34 of their 35 tour matches.

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".[18] Wallace claimed that because of a typographical error, subsequent references were to "All Blacks". This account is most likely a myth – 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.[18]

The Originals played 35 matches on tour, and their only loss was a 0-3 defeat to Wales in Cardiff.[19] The match has entered into the folklore of both countries because of a controversy over whether All Black Bob Deans had scored a try that would have earned his team a 3-3 draw.[20][d] 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.[21]

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.[22] 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.[22][23] 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[e] under which they believed sport should be played.[25][26][f] 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.[27]

Development of a legacy

International rugby was suspended during the First World War,[28] but a New Zealand Services team did compete in inter-services competition known as the King's Cup.[29] 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.[30] The Springboks – 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.[31]

"The Invincibles" All Blacks that toured to the British Isles and France in 1924-25

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.[32][33] 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.[34] New Zealand toured the British Isles again in 1935-36, losing only three games – including two tests – during a 30-match tour.[35] In one of these losses, Alexander Obolensky famously scored two tries to help England to a 13-0 win; their first over New Zealand.[36]

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.[37][38] It was not until 1949 that New Zealand next played the Springboks when they toured South Africa with Fred Allen as captain.[39][40] Although each test against South Africa was very close, New Zealand lost the series 0-4.[41] As part of this 25-match, 4-test series, an All Blacks 'second string' side[42] travelled up to Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) to face the Rhodesia representative side in two non-Test Internationals. The result of the first match saw Rhodesia run out winners, 10-8. Three days later, the second match resulted in a 3-3 draw. Two of the Rhodesian players were later capped for South Africa (being eligible due to Rhodesia's treatment as a province of South Africa, for rugby reasons) in the All Blacks second test of the tour. No International caps were awarded to either side for these two matches.[43][44]

The All Blacks at the climax of their haka before a 1932 test against Australia

At the same time as an All Black team was touring South Africa, Australia were touring New Zealand.[45] The two tours coincided because M?ori players were not able to go to South Africa at the time due to apartheid (the All Black team in South Africa refused to do the haka in protest), meaning the Australians, played against a New Zealand team made up of the best M?ori and the reserve non-M?ori players, while the South Africans encountered the best p?keh? (non-M?ori) players.[46][g] On the afternoon of 3 September New Zealand, captained by Johnny Smith, were beaten 6-11 by Australia in Wellington.[48] New Zealand then lost their second test 9-16, giving Australia a Bledisloe Cup series win in New Zealand for the first time.[45][46] 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.[45][49]

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.[50] During the series, New Zealand introduced Don Clarke, and brought prop Kevin Skinner out of retirement to help secure the win.[51] Skinner, a former New Zealand boxing champion, had retired from international rugby, but was convinced to return for the third and fourth tests.[52] 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.[53]

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.[54] 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.[55] The only loss on this tour was to Newport RFC, who won 3-0 at Rodney Parade, Newport on 30 October 1963.[56] The 1967 side won three tests against the home nations, but was unable to play Ireland because of a foot-and-mouth scare.[55] This tour formed part of New Zealand's longest winning streak, between 1965 and 1970, of 17 test victories.[57] 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.[58][h]

NZ then lost the 1970 away series in South Africa. Although the 1966 Lions had been 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.[55] 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.[59] It was on this tour that New Zealand lost 3-9 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.[60] New Zealand's only loss on the tour was the famous 12-0 defeat by Irish province Munster at Thomond Park.[61] A play that focused on the loss was later written by John Breen, called Alone it Stands.[62]

Controversial tours

Police outside Eden Park prior to a New Zealand match during the 1981 Springbok tour

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 of the country for the following 10 years until the 1970 tour, when Maori players were accepted as "honorary whites".[63][64]

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.[65][66] New Zealand again failed to win the test series in South Africa, and would not secure another series victory 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.[67]

The All Blacks playing the Pumas during their 1985 tour of Argentina

The 1981 South African tour to New Zealand sparked a protest movement against South Africa's apartheid policy; this type of protest had not been seen in New Zealand since the 1951 waterfront dispute.[68][69] The NZRU had invited the Springboks to tour because the Muldoon government refused to involve politics in sport.[70] 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.[71] 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. The country experienced unrest during the tour, which had a significant impact on New Zealand society.[68][71][72]

The 1985 All Blacks tour to South Africa was cancelled after legal action on the grounds that it would breach the NZRU's constitution.[72] 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.[73][74] 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.[75]

Early World Cups

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.[76]

By the 1991 World Cup New Zealand were an ageing side,[77] 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.[78] 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 per cent win rate during 29 tests in charge.[79]

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.[80][81] They managed to take hosts South Africa to extra time in the final, before losing 12-15 to Joel Stransky's drop goal.[82][83]


The All Blacks and England contesting a line-out. Both sets of forwards lined up wearing white and black respectively, with a player from each side at the rear of the line out being lifted by their teammates while both reaching for the ball.
New Zealand playing England at Twickenham in 2006

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)[84] which was formed with the purpose of selling broadcast rights for two new competitions, the domestic Super 12 competition and the Tri-Nations.[84] The first Tri-Nations was contested in 1996, with New Zealand winning all four of their tests to take the trophy.[85] After a 1996 Tri-Nations match hosted by South Africa, won 29-18 by New Zealand,[86] preceded a separate three-match test series between the two sides.[87] Under new coach John Hart and the captaincy of Sean Fitzpatrick, New Zealand won a test series in South Africa for the first time.[88] Fitzpatrick rated the series win higher than the 1987 World Cup victory in which he had participated.[88]

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.[89] 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.[90] The following year they suffered their worst test loss, 7-28 to Australia in Sydney.[91] At the 1999 World Cup later that year, the All Blacks dominated their pool, handing England a 16-30 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,[91] France then produced a famous half of rugby to which New Zealand had no answer, winning 43-31.[91] 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.[92] 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.[93] They defeated South Africa in their quarter-final, a team they had never beaten at the World Cup, 29-9, but lost to Australia 10-22 in the semi-final in Sydney. Following the team's lacklustre showing in the tournament, the NZRU would terminate Mitchell's contract[94] and install Graham Henry as national coach.[95]

Henry era

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.[96][97] 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.[i][98] 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.[99][100]

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 Keven 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.[101] O'Driscoll and the Lions management maintained it was a deliberate spear tackle,[102] and the controversy would both taint the All Blacks' series victory and continue for some years afterward.[103]

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.[3] New Zealand were nominated for the Laureus World Sports Award for Team of the Year in 2006 for their 2005 performance.[104] 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.[105] 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.[3][104][106]

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.[107] 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 fifteen minutes of the game to win 26-21.[108] The following week against the Wallabies at the Melbourne Cricket Ground the Wallabies upset New Zealand to win 20-15.[109] The All Blacks won their following home games to successfully defend the Tri-Nations Series for 2007.[110][111] New Zealand entered the 2007 Rugby World Cup as favourites,[112] and topped their pool,[113] 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.[114] Following the loss to France coach Graham Henry's job was reappointed amid vocal debate and comment, despite Robbie Deans being a strong contender.[115]

The All Blacks lined up along their try-line, with a ruck formed several metres (yards) from the try-line. Several Tongan players are positions in or around the ruck waiting for the ball to emerge.
New Zealand playing Tonga in the 2011 Rugby World Cup

The 2008 season started with three mid-year tests against Ireland and England, all of which New Zealand won.[116] 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.[117] New Zealand played their next Tri-Nations match on 26 July against Australia in Sydney, losing 19-34 but a week later against Australia in New Zealand won 39-10.[116] They then beat South Africa 19-0 at Newlands Stadium.[118] 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.[119]

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.[120]

In 2010, the All Blacks won the Tri-Nations Series for the tenth time after three successive victories against South Africa,[121] and won the Bledisloe Cup after consecutive victories against Australia.[122] An undefeated streak in tests that began in 2009 reached 15 matches.[123] Despite losing the 2011 Tri-Nations after a loss to Australia in Brisbane,[124] they still entered the 2011 Rugby World Cup as one of the favourites.[125] 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.[126] Henry stepped down as coach following the World Cup, and was replaced as head coach by his assistant Steve Hansen.[127]

Hansen era

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.[128] In November 2013, New Zealand became the first rugby nation in the professional era to achieve a 100 per cent record in a calendar year.[129]

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-finals, South Africa 20-18 in the semi-finals, and Australia 34-17 in the final to become the first nation to retain the World Championship title and the first to win the Rugby World Cup three times.[130]

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 five each, while fly-half Beauden Barrett was the highest points scorer of the competition with 81 in total.[131] The autumn of 2016 witnessed an historic defeat, with the All Blacks losing their first ever match to Ireland after 111 years of competition,[132] 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.[133]

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),[134] the tone of local media coverage,[135] the Red Card awarded to Sonny Bill Williams in the second test[136] and the refereeing of French officials Romain Poite and Jerome Garces[137] 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.[138] 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 18-23 loss to Australia, 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.[139]

At the start of the 2018 season, the All Blacks 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,[140] 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.[141] They would go on to post another crushing win over Australia by 37-20 in Yokohama, to confirm a Bledisloe whitewash for the year.[142] A development side was left behind to pummel Japan 69-31, 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 (16-15) in a very closely fought test,[143] followed by a second-ever loss to Ireland by 9-16 in a cauldron atmosphere at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.[144] They went on to thrash Italy by 66-3 to finish their season with a win.[145]


All Blacks historic jerseys
The 1905 "Originals" jersey
The Adidas jersey worn between July 1999 and August 2011
The 2012 jersey, sponsored by AIG

The current New Zealand jersey is a form-fitting garment and entirely black except for sponsors' logos and the NZRU silver fern on the chest. Nevertheless, during the 1884 tour of Australia which was the first overseas New Zealand rugby tour, the team featured clothing very different from today's jersey. Back then, the team donned a dark blue jersey, with a gold fern insignia on the left of the jumper.[146][147][148] The NZRU stipulated at its annual general meeting in 1893 that the uniform would be a black jersey with silver fern and white knickerbockers.[149] However, historic photographs suggest white shorts may have been used instead during these early years. There was a change some time after 1897, and in 1901 the team met NSW in a black jersey, a canvas top with no collar, and a silver fern.[150]

In 2006, New Zealand wore an embroidered remembrance poppy on their jersey sleeve when playing France during the end-of-year tour.[151] 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."[152]

During the 2011 Rugby World Cup, there was an image of the Webb Ellis Cup embroidered on the sleeve of the All Blacks' jerseys, with the year '1987' below it to signify the team's previous world title. Each of the four teams that had won the cup in previous years sported the same detailing on their jerseys.[153]

Adidas is paying the NZRFU $200 million over nine years, expecting New Zealand to win around 75 per cent of their matches.[154]Nike also looked at sponsoring New Zealand in 1996, but elected to sponsor Tiger Woods instead.[155]

The change kit has traditionally been white with black shorts. After a few years of 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 worn 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 received direct financial sponsorship; the value of the deal was not revealed but it was estimated to be worth approximately $80 million over five years.[156]Steinlager was the first sponsor to appear on the All Blacks' jersey, in the left breast of the jersey (on the opposite side to the silver fern), lasting from 1994 to 1999, when Adidas took over as supplier.

Adidas has been the All Blacks' kit supplier since the 1999 Tri-Nations tournament, taking over from Canterbury, who first supplied the kits in 1924.[157] In June 2017, after releasing a special edition jersey for the upcoming 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 New Zealand team lined up, with their arms raised to their side and palms facing down, mouths open in full voice, and eyes looking directly at their opponents opposite. The New Zealanders are wearing black shorts and socks, while squatting with knees bent and backs straight.
The New Zealand team performing Ka Mate, led by Richie McCaw, before a match against France in November 2006

The All Blacks perform a haka (a M?ori challenge) before every international match. The tradition has been closely associated with New Zealand rugby ever since a tour of Australia and the United Kingdom by the New Zealand Natives in 1888 and 1889,[158][159] although it is likely that the New Zealand team that toured New South Wales in 1884 may also have performed a haka.[160] The 1888-89 New Zealand native team used Ake Ake Kia Kaha, and a mocking haka, Tupoto koe, Kangaru!, was used by the 1903 team that visited Australia. In 1905, the All Blacks began the tradition of using Ka Mate, a haka composed in the 19th century by Te Rauparaha, leader of the Ng?ti Toa tribe. The 1924 All Blacks used a specially composed haka, Ko Niu Tireni, but later All Blacks reverted to using Ka Mate.[161][162][163]

In August 2005, before the Tri-Nations test match between New Zealand and South Africa at Carisbrook stadium in Dunedin, the All Blacks performed a new haka, Kapa o Pango, specially composed for the occasion by Derek Lardelli and intended to reflect the Polynesian-influenced multicultural make-up of contemporary New Zealand.[164] Lardelli's haka was not designed to replace Ka Mate as it was only meant to be used for special occasions.[164]Kapa o Pango concludes with a move that has been interpreted as a "throat slitting" gesture, which has led to accusations that the haka encourages violence and sends the wrong message to All Blacks fans.[165] However, according to Lardelli, the gesture is meant to represent "drawing vital energy into the heart and lungs".[166]

In November 2006, at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, the All Blacks performed the haka in the dressing room prior to the match – instead of on the field immediately before kick-off – following a disagreement with the Welsh Rugby Union, who had wanted Wales to sing their national anthem immediately after the haka.[167] In 2008, New Zealand played Munster at Thomond Park; before the match, Munster's four New Zealand players challenged their opponents by performing their own haka before the All Blacks started theirs.[168] On the same tour, Wales responded to New Zealand's haka by silently refusing to move afterwards, and the two teams simply stared at each other until the referee forced them to start the game.[169]



Top 20 rankings as of 9 March 2020[170]
Rank Change* Team Points
1 Steady  South Africa 094.19
2 Steady  New Zealand 092.11
3 Steady  England 088.41
4 Steady  Ireland 084.91
5 Steady  France 082.73
6 Steady  Wales 082.64
7 Steady  Australia 081.90
8 Steady  Scotland 080.68
9 Steady  Japan 079.28
10 Steady  Argentina 078.31
11 Steady  Fiji 076.21
12 Steady  Georgia 072.88
13 Steady  Tonga 071.44
14 Steady  Italy 071.07
15 Steady  Samoa 070.72
16 Steady  United States 068.10
17 Steady  Uruguay 067.41
18 Steady  Spain 067.14
19 Steady  Romania 065.36
20 Increase4  Russia 062.13
21 Decrease1  Portugal 061.27
22 Decrease1  Hong Kong 061.23
23 Decrease1  Canada 061.12
24 Decrease1  Namibia 061.01
25 Steady  Netherlands 060.08
26 Steady  Brazil 058.89
27 Steady  Belgium 057.19
28 Steady   Switzerland 054.11
29 Steady  Chile 053.83
30 Steady  Germany 053.13
*Change from the previous week
New Zealand's historical rankings
New Zealand IRB World Rankings.png
Source: World Rugby - Graph updated to 27 January 2020[170]

New Zealand have only ever been beaten by six test nations,[j] 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 per cent (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.[2] In the decade from 2000 to 2009, New Zealand won 100 tests (92 per cent of their total games played).

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.[171] Their longest unbeaten streak is 23 tests (from 1987 to 1990) with one game being drawn.[172]

Their all-time points record for tests stands at 16,374 points for and 7,850 against (updated 6 October 2019). Many national teams' heaviest defeats have occurred against New Zealand – the national teams of Argentina (91-8), Fiji (91-0), France (62-13), Ireland (60-0), Japan (145-17), Portugal, Samoa, South Africa (57-0) 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,[173] while their heaviest loss was a 7-28 loss to Australia in 1999,[91] equaled by a 26-47 loss (also to Australia) in 2019.

Below is summary of New Zealand test results, updated 6 October 2019:[174]

Opponent Played Won Lost Drawn Win% For Aga Diff
 Argentina 29 28 0 1 96.55 1150 422 +728
 Australia 166 115 44 8 69.28 3568 2381 +1187
 British and Irish Lions 41 30 7 4 73.17 700 399 +301
 Canada 6 6 0 0 100.00 376 54 +322
 England 42 33 8 1 78.57 992 594 +398
 Fiji 5 5 0 0 100.00 364 50 +314
 France 61 48 12 1 78.69 1596 801 +795
 Georgia 1 1 0 0 100.00 43 10 +33
 Ireland 32 29 2 1 90.63 917 389 +528
 Italy 14 14 0 0 100.00 820 131 +689
 Japan 4 4 0 0 100.00 351 61 +290
 Namibia 2 2 0 0 100.00 129 23 +106
 Pacific Islanders 1 1 0 0 100.00 41 26 +15
 Portugal 1 1 0 0 100.00 108 13 +95
 Romania 2 2 0 0 100.00 99 14 +85
 Samoa 7 7 0 0 100.00 411 72 +339
 Scotland 31 29 0 2 93.55 922 349 +573
 South Africa 99 59 36 4 59.60 2050 1577 +473
 Tonga 6 6 0 0 100.00 418 42 +376
 United States 3 3 0 0 100.00 171 15 +156
 Wales 35 32 3 0 91.43 1110 391 +719
 World XV 3 2 1 0 66.67 94 69 +25
Total 591 457 113 21 77.33% 16,414 7,867 +8,547

Rugby World Cup

Rugby World Cup
Year Round Pld W D L PF PA Squad
New Zealand Australia 1987 Champions 6 6 0 0 298 52 Squad
England France Ireland Scotland Wales 1991 Third Place 6 5 0 1 143 74 Squad
South Africa 1995 Runners-up 6 5 0 1 327 119 Squad
Wales 1999 Fourth Place 6 4 0 2 255 111 Squad
Australia 2003 Third Place 7 6 0 1 361 101 Squad
France 2007 Quarter-finals 5 4 0 1 327 55 Squad
New Zealand 2011 Champions 7 7 0 0 301 72 Squad
England 2015 Champions 7 7 0 0 290 97 Squad
Japan 2019 Third Place 6 5 0 1 250 72 Squad
France 2023
Total 56 49 0 7 2552 753
  Champions    Runners-up    Third place    Fourth place Home venue

New Zealand have won the World Cup three times. 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 quarter-finals by the host nation France;[175] until this they were the only team to have reached the semi-finals of every tournament.[176] 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 nine tournaments to date.

New Zealand holds several World Cup records: most World Cup Matches (55), most points in one match (145 versus Japan in 1995), most cumulative points over all World Cups (2,512), most tries overall (341), most conversions (249) 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.[177] They currently hold the record for the most consecutive wins at a World Cup, with 18 straight wins, spanning from 2011 to 2019. 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).[177]

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. 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)
Nation Games Points Bonus
72 50 0 22 1936 1395 +541 32 232 10
 Australia 72 29 1 42 1531 1721 -190 34 152 3
72 28 1 43 1480 1831 -351 24 138 3
Source: - 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)
Nation Games Points Bonus
42 36 2 4 1423 751 +672 26 174 6
42 19 4 19 1048 974 +74 19 103 1
 Australia 42 19 3 20 952 1088 -136 9 91 1
 Argentina 42 5 1 36 766 1376 -610 11 33 0
Updated: 10 August 2019
Source: - 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.
All-time Tri Nations and Rugby Championship Table (1996-present)
Nation Games Points Bonus
114 86 2 26 3559 2146 +1413 58 406 16
114 48 4 62 2483 2809 -326 43 241 4
 South Africa 114 47 5 62 2528 2805 -277 43 229 4
 Argentina 42 5 1 36 766 1376 -610 11 33 0
Updated: 10 August 2019
Bonus points given by T - 4W - 2D, for T table points, W games won and D games drawn.


Current squad

All Blacks 38-man traveling squad for the 2020 Tri Nations Series[178]

Note: Caps correct as of 18 October 2020

Player Position Date of birth (age) Caps Franchise / province
Asafo Aumua Hooker (1997-03-05) 5 March 1997 (age 23) 2 Hurricanes / Wellington
Dane Coles Hooker (1986-12-10) 10 December 1986 (age 33) 71 Hurricanes / Wellington
Codie Taylor Hooker (1991-03-31) 31 March 1991 (age 29) 51 Crusaders / Canterbury
George Bower Prop (1992-05-28) 28 May 1992 (age 28) 0 Crusaders / Otago
Alex Hodgman Prop (1993-07-16) 16 July 1993 (age 27) 1 Blues / Auckland
Nepo Laulala Prop (1991-11-06) 6 November 1991 (age 28) 27 Chiefs / Counties Manukau
Tyrel Lomax Prop (1996-03-16) 16 March 1996 (age 24) 2 Hurricanes / Tasman
Joe Moody Prop (1988-09-18) 18 September 1988 (age 32) 48 Crusaders / Canterbury
Karl Tu'inukuafe Prop (1993-02-21) 21 February 1993 (age 27) 14 Blues / North Harbour
Ofa Tu'ungafasi Prop (1992-04-19) 19 April 1992 (age 28) 37 Blues / Auckland
Scott Barrett Lock (1993-11-20) 20 November 1993 (age 26) 37 Crusaders
Mitchell Dunshea Lock (1995-11-18) 18 November 1995 (age 24) 0 Crusaders / Canterbury
Patrick Tuipulotu Lock (1993-01-23) 23 January 1993 (age 27) 32 Blues / Auckland
Tupou Vaa'i Lock (2000-01-27) 27 January 2000 (age 20) 2 Chiefs / Taranaki
Sam Whitelock Lock (1988-10-12) 12 October 1988 (age 32) 118 Crusaders / Canterbury
Sam Cane (c) Loose forward (1992-01-13) 13 January 1992 (age 28) 70 Chiefs / Bay of Plenty
Shannon Frizell Loose forward (1994-02-11) 11 February 1994 (age 26) 11 Highlanders / Tasman
Cullen Grace Loose forward (1999-12-20) 20 December 1999 (age 20) 0 Crusaders / Canterbury
Akira Ioane Loose forward (1995-06-16) 16 June 1995 (age 25) 1 Blues / Auckland
Du'Plessis Kirifi Loose forward (1997-03-03) 3 March 1997 (age 23) 0 Hurricanes / Wellington
Dalton Papalii Loose forward (1997-10-11) 11 October 1997 (age 23) 3 Blues / Auckland
Ardie Savea Loose forward (1993-10-14) 14 October 1993 (age 27) 46 Hurricanes / Wellington
Hoskins Sotutu Loose forward (1998-07-12) 12 July 1998 (age 22) 2 Blues / Auckland
TJ Perenara Half-back (1992-01-23) 23 January 1992 (age 28) 66 Hurricanes / Wellington
Aaron Smith Half-back (1988-11-21) 21 November 1988 (age 31) 94 Highlanders / Manawatu
Brad Weber Half-back (1991-01-17) 17 January 1991 (age 29) 5 Chiefs / Hawke's Bay
Beauden Barrett First five-eighth (1991-05-27) 27 May 1991 (age 29) 84 Blues / Taranaki
Richie Mo'unga First five-eighth (1994-05-25) 25 May 1994 (age 26) 19 Crusaders / Canterbury
Jack Goodhue Centre (1995-06-13) 13 June 1995 (age 25) 15 Crusaders / Northland
Rieko Ioane Centre (1997-03-18) 18 March 1997 (age 23) 30 Blues / Auckland
Ngani Laumape Centre (1993-04-22) 22 April 1993 (age 27) 13 Hurricanes / Manawatu
Anton Lienert-Brown Centre (1995-04-15) 15 April 1995 (age 25) 45 Chiefs / Waikato
Peter Umaga-Jensen Centre (1997-12-31) 31 December 1997 (age 22) 1 Hurricanes / Wellington
Caleb Clarke Wing (1999-03-29) 29 March 1999 (age 21) 2 Blues / Auckland
Sevu Reece Wing (1997-02-13) 13 February 1997 (age 23) 7 Crusaders / Waikato
Jordie Barrett Fullback (1997-02-17) 17 February 1997 (age 23) 19 Hurricanes / Taranaki
Will Jordan Fullback (1998-02-24) 24 February 1998 (age 22) 0 Crusaders / Tasman
Damian McKenzie Fullback (1995-05-20) 20 May 1995 (age 25) 25 Chiefs / Waikato

Notable players

Image of Gallaher wearing his black rugby uniform and clasping a football.
Captain of the "Original All Blacks" that toured the United Kingdom in 1905, Dave Gallaher is an inductee into the World Rugby Hall of Fame

Seventeen 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, Richie McCaw, Sir Colin Meads, Graham Mourie, George Nepia, Joe Warbrick, Sir Bryan Williams and Sir Wilson Whineray.[179][180]

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.[181] The New Zealand Natives were the first New Zealand team to wear black uniforms, and the first to perform a haka.[182]

Dave Gallaher played in New Zealand's first ever test match in 1903 and also captained the 1905 Originals. Along with Billy Stead, Gallaher wrote the famous rugby book The Complete Rugby Footballer.[183] At the age of only 19, George Nepia played in all 30 matches on the Invincibles tour of 1924-25.[184] Nepia played 37 All Blacks games; his last was against the British Isles in 1930.[184]

Sir Fred Allen captained all of his 21 matches for New Zealand, including six tests, between 1946 and 1949.[185] 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.[185]

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.[186] 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.[186][187] Sir Wilson Whineray played 32 tests, captaining New Zealand in 30 of them.[188] He played prop and also number 8 between 1957 and 1965. New Zealand lost only four of their 30 tests with Whineray as captain.[188] On 21 October 2007, Whineray became the first New Zealander to earn induction to the World Rugby Hall of Fame.[189] 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".[190] Meads, nicknamed Pinetree, played 133 games for New Zealand, including 55 tests.[190] In 1999 the New Zealand Rugby Monthly magazine named Meads the New Zealand player of the century.[190] Ian Kirkpatrick played 39 tests, including nine as captain, between 1967 and 1977.[191] He scored 16 tries in his test career, a record at the time.[191]

There were two players in the Hall of Fame to debut in the 1970s one 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.[192] The other was Bryan Williams who debuted for the national squad in 1970 as a 19-year-old

Colin Meads, New Zealand's player of the century.

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.[193] He was knighted in 1999 for his lifetime services to rugby.[194] 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.[195] In the 1987 World Cup opener against Italy, Kirwan raced 90 meters to score one of the tries of the tournament.[195][196] 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.[197] 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.[198] Born in Auckland, New Zealand, Jones first played international rugby for Samoa, then for New Zealand, playing 55 tests between 1987 and 1998.[198] 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.[198][199] 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.[200] 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.[200] He played 346 first class rugby matches.[201]

Jonah Lomu is generally regarded as the first true global superstar of rugby union.[202] 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[203] and heaviest[204] 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's semi-final 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.[205] 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".

Match Fit Squad

In 2020, Buck Shelford started a reality program that reunites past All Blacks for a one-off Sevens match against New Zealand Barbarians in December, 2020[206]. The squad is as follows (in order of appearance):

Individual all-time records

Head shot of a European male
Richie McCaw is the most capped rugby player of all time, and was the first New Zealander to play 100 test matches

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.[207] He surpassed Andrew Mehrtens' All Black record total of 967 points from 70 tests[208] in the All Blacks' win over England on 21 November 2009.[209] On 27 November 2010 Dan Carter scored a penalty against Wales to pass Jonny Wilkinson's previous world record of 1,178 points.[210] 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.[211] 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.[212] In test matches, the most capped All Black is Richie McCaw with 148 caps.[213] The record for most tests as captain is held by Richie McCaw with 110.[214] 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.[205][215][k]


The current head coach of the All Blacks, Ian Foster, was an assistant coach to his predecessor Steve Hansen who held the position from 2012 until 2019. Due to the definition of the 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.[79] All head coaches of the All Blacks have been New Zealanders.

Name Years Tests Won Drew Lost Win percentage
Alex McDonald 1949 4 0 0 4 0
Tom Morrison 1950, 55-56 12 8 1 3 66.7
Len Clode 1951 3 3 0 0 100
Arthur Marslin 1953-54 5 3 0 2 60
Dick Everest 1957 2 2 0 0 100
Jack Sullivan 1958-60 11 6 1 4 54.5
Neil McPhail 1961-65 20 16 2 2 80
Ron Bush 1962 2 2 0 0 100
Fred Allen 1966-68 14 14 0 0 100
Ivan Vodanovich 1969-71 10 4 1 5 40
Bob Duff 1972-73 8 6 1 1 75
JJ Stewart 1974-76 11 6 1 4 54.5
Jack Gleeson 1977-78 13 10 0 3 76.9
Eric Watson 1979-80 9 5 0 4 55.6
Peter Burke 1981-82 11 9 0 2 81.8
Bryce Rope 1983-84 12 9 1 2 75
Brian Lochore 1985-87 18 14 1 3 77.8
Alex Wyllie 1988-91 29 25 1 3 86.2
Laurie Mains 1992-95 34 23 1 10 67.6
John Hart 1996-99 41 31 1 9 75.6
Wayne Smith 2000-01 17 12 0 5 70.6
John Mitchell[216] 2002-03 28 23 1 4 82.1
Graham Henry[217] 2004-11 103 88 0 15 85.4
Steve Hansen 2012-19 107 93 4 10 86.9
Ian Foster 2020- 1 0 1 0 50.0

Home grounds

Map showing locations of current home grounds in New Zealand

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.[218] The first home test match played outside the main centres of Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin or Wellington was in 1996 at McLean Park in Napier.[219]

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.[220]Dunedin City Council approved the new stadium in March 2008,[221] land acquisition proceeded from August to October of that year,[222] 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% Last loss
Athletic Park, Wellington, North Island 1904
v British Lions
1904 1999 42 69 25 July 1998
Tahuna Park, Dunedin, South Island 1905
v Australia
1905 1905 1 100 n/a
Potter's Park, Auckland, North Island 1908
v British Lions
1905 1905 1 100 n/a
Carisbrook, Dunedin, South Island 1908
v British Lions
1908 2011
v Fiji
38 84 13 June 2009
AMI Stadium, Christchurch, South Island
Formerly Lancaster Park and Jade Stadium
v Australia
1913 2010
v Australia
48 81 1 August 1998
AMI Stadium, Christchurch, South Island
Formerly Rugby League Park
2012 2016
v. South Africa
4 100 n/a
Eden Park, Auckland, North Island 1921
v South Africa
1921 2019
v Australia
85 84 3 July 1994
Epsom Showgrounds, Auckland, North Island 1958
v Australia
1958 1958 1 100 n/a
Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, South Island 2012
v South Africa
2012 2018
v France
6 100 n/a
McLean Park, Napier, North Island 1996
v Western Samoa
1996 2014
v Argentina
2 100 n/a
North Harbour Stadium, Auckland, North Island 1997
1997 2017
v South Africa
7 100 n/a
Rugby Park, Hamilton, North Island 1997
v Argentina
1997 1997 1 100 n/a
Westpac Stadium, Wellington, North Island 2000
v Australia
2000 2019
v South Africa
24 83 15 September 2018
Waikato Stadium, Hamilton, North Island 2002
v Italy
2002 2019
v Tonga
13 92 12 October 2009
Yarrow Stadium, New Plymouth, North Island 2008
v Samoa
2008 2017
v Argentina
4 100 n/a
Trafalgar Park, Nelson, South Island 2018
v Argentina
2018 2018
v Argentina
1 100 n/a
TOTAL 277 83.39

See also


  1. ^ The British Isles side subsequently became known as the British and Irish Lions.
  2. ^ Canterbury, Otago and Southland objected to the requirement that NZRFU executive committee members needed to live in Wellington. They eventually all joined the NZRFU, but the residency rule did not change until 1986.[13]
  3. ^ Six of the New South Welshmen were New Zealanders living in Sydney.[15]
  4. ^ Tries were worth three points at the time.
  5. ^ Amateurism was not just about not playing for money. Many in the traditional rugby establishment believed that: "Excessive striving for victory introduced an unhealthy spirit of competition, transforming a character-building 'mock fight' into 'serious fighting'. Training and specialization degraded sport to the level of work".[24]
  6. ^ The Anglo-Welsh are officially acknowledged as a British and Irish Lions side despite Ireland and Scotland refusing to contribute any players.[25]
  7. ^ This restriction on non-White players representing New Zealand in South Africa lasted until the 1970 tour, when four players of M?ori or Samoan ancestry were allowed into the country as "honorary whites".[47]
  8. ^ Unlike South Africa and New Zealand, Lithuania did not have to play any Tier 1 or Tier 2 national teams.
  9. ^ Bonus points could be earned via two means; by scoring four tries or more in one match, or through losing a match by seven points or less.
  10. ^ They have been defeated in tests by two combined teams however; the British and Irish Lions, and a World XV.
  11. ^ The next oldest test player was Frank Bunce, aged 35 years, 305 days; over four years younger than Hughes.


  1. ^ "Sport, Fitness and Leisure". New Zealand Official Yearbook. Statistics New Zealand. 2000. Archived from the original on 7 June 2011. Retrieved 2008. Traditionally New Zealanders have excelled in rugby union, which is regarded as the national sport, and track and field athletics.
  2. ^ a b "Rugby World Rankings". World Rugby. Retrieved 2014.
  3. ^ a b c "World Rugby Awards Past Winners". World Rugby. 9 November 2014. Archived from the original on 21 November 2014.
  4. ^ McCarthy (1968), p. 11.
  5. ^ Davies, Sean (21 October 2008). "All Blacks magic: New Zealand rugby". BBC Sport. UK. Archived from the original on 31 March 2013.
  6. ^ Ryan (1993), p. 16.
  7. ^ Gifford (2004), p. 27.
  8. ^ McCarthy (1968), p. 12.
  9. ^ Slatter (1974), p. 33.
  10. ^ Gifford (2004), p 29.
  11. ^ Gifford (2004), p 30.
  12. ^ Fagan (2013), pp. 52-53.
  13. ^ a b Gifford (2004), p. 32.
  14. ^ Mulholland (2009), p. 11.
  15. ^ a b McCarthy (1968), p. 23.
  16. ^ McCarthy (1968), p. 24.
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Works cited

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