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The All Blacks
The All Blacks are New Zealand’s number one national rugby side and have rated amongst the best in the world for well over 100 years. Their name and distinctive all-black playing strip have become well known to rugby and non-rugby fans worldwide.
The first New Zealand team was selected in 1884, for a tour to New South Wales. The team played its first match at home, against a Wellington XV, before recording eight wins in eight matches in Australia. Otago prop James Allan, who played eight matches for the 1884 team, has the title of All Black No 1.
In 1893, the first official NZRU-sanctioned New Zealand team was selected, for an 11-match tour to Australia. The team lost just once, to New South Wales in Sydney.
In 1894, an official New Zealand team hosted visiting opposition on home soil for the first time, in a match against New South Wales at Christchurch won 8–6 by the visitors, two years later, New Zealand beat Queensland at Wellington to record its first home win against visiting opposition.
New Zealand’s 1905–06 tour to the United Kingdom, France and North America might be considered the most important in New Zealand rugby history. The team played 35 matches in total, losing just once. In the United Kingdom especially, the team’s largely confident, attractive and comfortable wins made a strong statement about the quality of rugby in the colonies and New Zealand in particular. Moreover, the 1905–06 tour gave rise to the famous “All Blacks” moniker, as the fame surrounding the black-clad team spread. Nowadays, this team is known as “the Originals” – they were the first team to demonstrate the power and skill of New Zealand rugby, the first to make rugby a part of New Zealand’s cultural identity, and the first to be known as All Blacks.
In 1924–25, the All Blacks embarked on a 32-match tour to the United Kingdom, France and Canada. Going one better than the 1905–06 Originals, this team won all 32 matches, including Test wins over Ireland, Wales, England and France, and earned the nickname “the Invincibles”.
In 1956, the All Blacks won a Test series against South Africa for the first time. The Springboks were the All Blacks’ greatest traditional rivals and had delivered some of the All Blacks’ worst defeats.
In 1978, the All Blacks achieved a Grand Slam for the first time. For southern hemisphere sides like New Zealand, a Grand Slam includes victories over the four Home Unions – England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales – in the course of a single tour. The team achieved a second Grand Slam in 2005 and a third in 2008.
In 1987, the All Blacks won the inaugural Rugby World Cup, hosted by New Zealand and Australia.
New Zealand Rugby Union
The New Zealand Rugby Union (New Zealand Rugby Union) (formerly the New Zealand Rugby Football Union) is the governing body of rugby union in New Zealand, it was founded in 1892, 12 years after the first Provincial Unions in New Zealand, and in 1949, became an affiliate to the International Rugby Board, the governing body of Rugby Union for the world. The Union's main objectives, as displayed in the New Zealand Rugby Union Constitution[ is to, promote and develop rugby throughout New Zealand; arrange and participate in international, trial and other rugby matches and tours in New Zealand and Overseas; represent New Zealand on the International Rugby Board; form and manage NZ representative teams; and encourage participation in, and support for, rugby players and supporters at all levels of the game. New Zealand Rugby Union Headquarters are located in Wellington, New Zealand
There are currently 11 New Zealand Rugby Union Board Members, President, John Sturgeon, was elected in 2009, who received the position from Andy Leslie in 2009. Steve Tew is the current Chief Executive and Sir Wilson Whineray is the current Patron.
The New Zealand Rugby Union currently have eight representative teams, while the New Zealand Maori rugby union team was postponed for the 2009 Pacific Nations Cup, replaced by the Junior All Blacks, with New Zealand Rugby Union Chief Executive Steve Tew stating "while the long-term view was that the New Zealand Maori team was the best fit for the Pacific Nations Cup, the development of the top level of players as a pathway to the All Blacks was a more urgent priority in 2009".
The New Zealand Rugby Union was initially governed by a committee of delegates from the provincial unions until replaced in 1894 by a seven-member Wellington-based management committee. This was expanded 43 years later to create two entities, the ruling New Zealand Rugby Union Council and an executive committee. In 1986, the New Zealand Rugby Union introduced the three zones and the executive committee was replaced by an administration committee. Ten years later the council was replaced by the current New Zealand Rugby Union Board which included independent board members. Administrative responsibilities were initially held by honorary secretaries, and then secretaries, from 1907. Since 1990, the New Zealand Rugby Union has been managed by a CEO.
Patrons and Officers
The New Zealand Rugby Union Patron fills an honorary role as the figurehead for the organization. The current Patron is former All Blacks captain Sir Wilson Whineray, who has held the title since 2003 and was last re-elected for a three-year term starting in 2007. Previously, the role was filled ex officio by the Governor-General of New Zealand.
The President and Vice President of the New Zealand Rugby Union are the Union's two officers who represent the New Zealand Rugby Union and New Zealand Rugby at rugby and non-rugby functions and events. Unlike the New Zealand Rugby Union Patron, the President and Vice President are entitled to attend New Zealand Rugby Union Board Meetings, but are not entitled to vote on Board matters. The President and Vice President are elected for two years each. The current President is John Sturgeon, former All Blacks Manager, and the current Vice President is Bryan Williams.
On Saturday 16 April 1892, in a meeting held in Wellington, the New Zealand Rugby Union was formed. Inaugural members were the Provincial Unions of Auckland, Hawke's Bay, Manawatu, Marlborough, Nelson, South Canterbury, Taranaki, Waiararapa, Wanganui and Wellington. At the time, three major South Island Provincial Unions – Canterbury, Otago and Southland – resisted the central authority of the New Zealand Rugby Union.
In 1893, the New Zealand Rugby Union formally adopted the black jersey as the national playing strip and selected the first New Zealand Rugby Union-sanctioned national team, for a tour of Australia. However, the earlier New Zealand team selected to tour New South Wales in 1884 is recognised as a New Zealand team and its players recognised as All Blacks.
By 1895, with the additions of the Bush, Canterbury, Horowhenua, Otago, Poverty Bay, Southland and West Coast unions, the New Zealand Rugby Union was considered to be a complete and united collection of all New Zealand rugby players. However, the New Zealand rugby map would be repeatedly redrawn in the following decades.
At the Annual Meeting in 1921, the New Zealand Rugby
Union elected its first Life Member, George Dixon, manager of the 1905
“Originals” All Blacks and the New Zealand Rugby Union’s first Chairman,
appointed in 1904. In another innovation, provincial delegates met prior to
the Annual Meeting to arrange representative fixtures for the season ahead,
introducing a new level of national coordination.