GREATEST MOMENTS: New Zealand Rugby

As the All Blacks prepare to take on England at the Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on Saturday, we’ve taken a look into New Zealand’s history on the field.

Rugby World Cup Win – 1987

Fast forward 37 years to the first Rugby World Cup in 1987 when New Zealand’s greatness truly shone as they were crowned World Champions in their hometown of Auckland. New Zealand faced France in the final match of the 30-day event at Eden Park, finishing the first half with a comfortable 9-0 lead.

France emerged after halftime with renewed energy, finally getting on the scoreboard with a penalty by Didier Camberabero. However, David Kirk and John Kirwan ensured New Zealand maintained their dominance, each scoring tries. With Fox’s accurate goal-kicking, they surged to a 29-3 lead.

A final push just before the whistle allowed France to score a try through Pierre Berbizier, converted by Didier Camberabero as the last kick of the match. New Zealand secured the first Rugby World Cup win, with standout players Jones, Kirk, and Kirwan scoring the tries to make that happen. In a display of characteristic humility, Kirk invited his injured teammate Andy Dalton, whom he had succeeded as captain, to join him in lifting the Webb Ellis trophy in the stands at Eden Park.

 

Credit: https://youtu.be/fb5M9GDJNO8?si=praVPKj3aG4jRCKm

Michael Jones – 1991

Throughout his distinguished career, Michael Jones frequently scored the opening tries in major tournaments. Known as the ‘Ice Man,’ Jones was the first to score in the inaugural Rugby World Cup in 1987 and also the first to cross the line in a Tri-Nations test in 1996. However, his most memorable opener came in 1991 against England. Running the line with his usual precision, Jones capitalised on a brilliant run down the sideline by John Kirwan giving him and his team a strong 18-12 victory to start the tournament strong.

Credit: https://www.facebook.com/share/v/4EfbgdSgEiB9pgsi/

Highest Ever Score in a Rugby World Cup Match – New Zealand v Japan – 1995

In their 1995 Rugby World Cup pool match at Free State Rugby Stadium in Bloemfontein, New Zealand faced a Japanese team that was a far cry from the side that would later stun South Africa over a decade later, putting up minimal resistance as the All Blacks racked up a staggering 145-17 victory. This game served as a remarkable training exercise for New Zealand, with centre Marc Ellis scoring six tries, a feat that remains unsurpassed by any All Black since, though Will Jordan came close with five tries against Tonga in 2021. Simon Culhane also set a world record for the most points scored on a test debut, accumulating 45 points and surpassing Andrew Mehrtens’ previous record. The match is notable for having the most tries scored in a Rugby World Cup game and is only exceeded in all test matches by Uriel O’Farrell’s seven tries for Argentina against Uruguay.

Credit: https://youtu.be/uROk9vTjn3Y?si=1Hgjp3AYR2M4K2HJ

Jonah Lomu’s outstanding tries against France – 1999

While the 1999 Rugby World Cup semifinal against France is primarily remembered for the All Blacks’ heart-wrenching 43-31 defeat, but many overlook the remarkable performance of Jonah Lomu before the French team turned the game around. Lomu’s two sensational tries, in which he fended off 13 defenders, stand out as some of the greatest moments in rugby history. The shock of the All Blacks’ loss was magnified not only by their previous 54-7 thrashing of France earlier in the year but also by Lomu’s incredible dominance in the first half of the match.

Credit: https://youtu.be/j6fkqr1e4ow?si=sAXsubykHZpmdMlj

New Zealand Rugby Facts

The Most Successful Team in The World

The All Blacks have a storied history of success in international rugby. They have achieved the prestigious feat of winning the Rugby World Cup three times, in 1987, 2011, and 2015, making them one of the most successful teams in the tournament’s history. In addition to these victories, they were runners-up in both 1995 and 2019, showcasing their consistent presence at the highest levels of competition.

Beyond their World Cup achievements, the All Blacks’ dominance is reflected in their remarkable winning rate of 76% in international matches and have secured more wins than losses against every test opponent.

A WINNING STREAK OF 23 TEST VICTORIES

The All Blacks set their longest winning streak between 2015 and 2016, with 23 consecutive Test victories. Their remarkable form was also on display in 2013, a year in which they won every Test they faced and they also hold the record for the most consecutive home Test victories, with an impressive 47-match unbeaten run from 2009 to 2017.

Since 1903, when they made their international debut, New Zealand teams have played Test matches against 19 nations, and 12 of these nations have never achieved a victory over the All Blacks.

The Haka

The Haka is a traditional Māori dance performed by the New Zealand rugby team, the All Blacks, before all their international matches. It is a powerful and intense display of strength, unity, and pride, ultimately designed to intimidate their opponents and honour their cultural heritage. Traditionally, the Māori people of New Zealand performed haka to showcase a tribe’s pride, strength, and unity. Although commonly known as a war dance used to fire up warriors on the battlefield, the haka also serves as a customary way to celebrate, entertain, welcome, and challenge visiting tribes.

New ZEALAND V ENGLAND – 6th July 2024

New Zealand STARTING Team*

  1. Ethan de Groot
  2. Codie Taylor
  3. Tyrel Lomax
  4. Scott Barrett (c)
  5. Patrick Tuipulotu
  6. Samipeni Finau
  7. Dalton Papali’i
  8. Ardie Savea (vc)
  9. TJ Perenara
  10. Damian McKenzie
  11. Mark Tele’a
  12. Jordie Barrett (vc)
  13. Rieko Ioane
  14. Sevu Reece
  15. Stephen Perofeta

ENGLAND STARTING Team*

  1. Joe Marler (vc)
  2. Jamie George (c)
  3. Will Stuart
  4. Maro Itoje (vc)
  5. George Martin
  6. Chandler Cunningham-South
  7. Sam Underhill
  8. Ben Earl (vc)
  9. Alex Mitchell
  10. Marcus Smith
  11. Tommy Freeman
  12. Ollie Lawrence
  13. Henry Slade (vc)
  14. Immanuel Feyi-Waboso
  15. George Furbank

*correct as of 04.07.24