All Blacks (Rugby Union)
All Blacks, New Zealand's National Rugby Union Team
The All Blacks are New Zealand's national rugby union team. Rugby union is New Zealand's national sport, with the All Blacks a formidable power in international rugby, possessing a winning record against all nations.
The All Blacks compete annually with Australia and South Africa in the Tri-Nations Series, in which they also contest the Bledisloe Cup with Australia. They have been Tri-Nations champions seven times in the tournament's eleven-year history, have twice completed a Grand Slam (in 1978 and in 2005), and currently hold the Bledisloe Cup. They are the top ranked team in the world, and the 2006 International Rugby Board (IRB) Team of the Year. Twelve former All Blacks have been inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame.
The team first competed internationally in 1893 against New South Wales, and played their first Test match in 1903, a victory against Australia. This was soon followed by a tour of the northern hemisphere in 1905, during which the team's only defeat was against Wales in Cardiff.
The All Blacks completed their first series win over arch-rivals South Africa ("The Springboks") in New Zealand in 1956. A decade later, they achieved their longest winning streak by winning seventeen Tests between 1965 and 1970. The British and Irish Lions achieved their only series victory over the All Blacks in 1971, but seven years later the All Blacks completed their first Grand Slam (wins over England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales on the same tour).
The 1981 Springbok tour to New Zealand caused large scale civil unrest due to protests over South Africa's apartheid policy. In 1987 New Zealand hosted and won the inaugural Rugby World Cup. New Zealand toured post-apartheid South Africa in 1996, and achieved their first series win on South African soil.
All Blacks Tries and Tackles
Early New Zealand national rugby uniforms consisted of a black jersey with a silver fern and white knickerbockers. By their 1905 tour the All Blacks were wearing all black, except for the silver fern, and their All Black name dates from this time. The All Blacks traditionally perform a haka (Maori posture dance) before each match. Traditionally, the haka performed is Te Rauparaha's Ka Mate, though since 2005, a new haka, Kapa o Pango, has occasionally been performed.
Alternate Rugby Commentry comical recap on the Tri-Nations Rugby Tournament
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