All Blacks New Zealand vector logo
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About All Blacks New Zealand
The New Zealand men’s national rugby union team, known as the All Blacks, represent New Zealand in what is regarded as its national sport. The All Blacks hold the Rugby World Cup, are the 2012 International Rugby Board (IRB) Team of the Year, and are the leading Test match points scorers of all time. They are the only international side with a winning record against every Test nation they have played, and since their international debut in 1903 only five Test nations have ever defeated New Zealand.[n 1] Since the introduction of the IRB’s world rankings in October 2003, New Zealand has held number one ranking the majority of the time.
New Zealand compete with Argentina, Australia and South Africa in The Rugby Championship—known as the Tri Nations before Argentina’s entry in 2012. The All Blacks have won the trophy eleven times in the competition’s sixteen-year history. They also hold the Bledisloe Cup, which is contested annually with Australia, and the Freedom Cup—contested annually with South Africa. The defeat of England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales all in one tour, known as a Grand Slam, has been achieved four times by the All Blacks—1978, 2005, 2008 and 2010.
The All Blacks have won over 75% of their Test matches which is almost 15% more wins than their nearest rivals. They have also been named the IRB Team of the Year six times since 2005. Two members have won the International Rugby Board Player of the Year award, current captain Richie McCaw, and in 2012, Daniel Carter; both McCaw and Carter are the only players to have won the accolade more than once. Fifteen former All Blacks have been inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame; four of these are also inductees of the IRB Hall of Fame.
The team’s first ever match was in 1884 against Cumberland County, New South Wales, and their first Test match in 1903 against Australia in Sydney. The following year they hosted their first ever home Test, a match against a British Isles side in Wellington.[n 2] This was followed by a tour of Europe and North America in 1905 where the team suffered their first Test defeat—to Wales in Cardiff.
The team’s early uniforms consisted of a black jersey with a silver fern and white knickerbockers. By the 1905 tour New Zealand were wearing all black, except for the silver fern, and their name All Blacks dates from this time. New Zealand perform a haka—a Maori challenge or posture dance—before each match. The haka performed has traditionally been Te Rauparaha’s Ka Mate, although since 2005 Kapa o Pango—a modified version of the 1924 All Blacks haka, Kia Whaka-ngawari—has occasionally been performed.