The Story of the All Blacks Iconic New Zealand Rugby Team | Land of Legends


(NEW ZEALAND IS THE FIRST
NATION TO WIN 400 TEST MATCHES) (THE ALL BLACKS 7S HAVE
WON THE WORLD SERIES 12 TIMES) (FIVE TIMES COMMONWEALTH GAMES
7S CHAMPIONS IN SIX ATTEMPTS) (THE ALL BLACKS ARE
THE MOST SUCCESSFUL) (INTERNATIONAL
RUGBY TEAM BY FAR) (LAND OF LEGENDS) (NEW ZEALAND,
POPULATION – 4.8 MILLION) (MAJORITY OF NEW ZEALANDERS
ARE OF EUROPEAN DESCENT) (AND THE INDIGENOUS MAORI) (ARE THE SECOND
LARGEST ETHNIC GROUP) The Maori and Polynesian
influence on the game of rugby, not only in New Zealand
but worldwide is huge and I think that it’s a game
that really suits their natural skills
and abilities and something they
really take to, They love the physical contact, it’s something that comes
natural to them. I think there’s a stereotype that Maori and Pacific
are warrior people but if you think about the
British who came to New Zealand to colonise it, they could also be equally
conceptualised as a warrior people because they were going out
all over the world, attempting to dominate other cultures. So I think that stereotype,
we need to set aside. What we do know from
research that’s been done is that Maori took to rugby
in large part because it was one activity
that was available to them. So, the missionaries
and the early colonisers in many ways squashed some
of the indigenous games and activities people
were involved in, but rugby and sport provided
a way for Maori to retain their tribal identities, their regional identities,
and continued to compete but in a way that didn’t look
like it was doing that. If you look at the history
of the All Blacks, right back through 100 years, it is absolutely entwined
with different cultures playing in that team. We even have a New Zealand
Maori team which dates back to the same period,
100 and something years. You can’t have one
without the other and I don’t think that
any New Zealand rugby fan would even be happy at the fact that there would be one
without the other. I think rugby became important to New Zealand for a lot
of different reasons and not the least of which was it was one of the few places in which we could kind of place
our mark on the world stage. And, so, the early development
of rugby was a way for us to show the mother country that we were equal,
if not better, than the men
in the home nations. So, the success of
the early All Blacks teams certainly perhaps planted
the first stake in the ground about this was a sport around
which we might be able to develop a sense of what a
New Zealand identity would be. The Invincibles Tour in the
early 1900s was a huge moment. It was one of the first
places around which this sort of emergent national
identity could develop. So I think that tour was really
important in terms of New Zealand nationalism
as a whole. It could have been something
else but it was rugby. So, that started rugby becoming
a point around which we could feel that
we were New Zealanders, as opposed to British citizens
living in New Zealand. It is part of the fabric of our world, of our society,
of our life. I think, generationally,
it always has been. And I think it’s because
it’s one of those things that, if you go to Australia, you’ll
find that kids run around, playing cricket,
knocking a cricket ball. If you go to England,
they’ll be kicking a football. If you come to New Zealand,
kids in the back yard or on the beach throw
a rugby ball around. I don’t think there’s many
people in New Zealand who haven’t been exposed
to rugby. And certainly if
you grew up in the country, that the rugby club and the
rugby clubrooms were usually the centre of the community. It’s not just about
the guys, it’s… a thing that covers both sexes so it’s your whole
sort of socio groups that are into rugby.
Mums make the decision about which sports their
sons play a lot of the time and so if they’re into
rugby, that’s going to mean more young
kids playing rugby. You also can’t
deny that as a kid, if you are out in the backyard and you’ve got a rugby ball
and you’re thinking you’re Aaron Smith,
or Beaudy Barrett, or DJ Forbes,
or whoever it might be, it doesn’t have a bit of
an influence on it. So we’ve got great role models, we’ve got great players
for these kids to aspire to be. But if it’s not fun and
enjoyable when they’re 8, 9 or 10, it doesn’t matter
how good these guys are, they won’t play down there. (75,000 CHILDREN UNDER 12
PLAY RUGBY IN NEW ZEALAND) If we go back a long
time, rugby was almost part of
the school curriculum. It was accessibility,
almost an expectation. I know at this school,
you know, there was an expectation to play rugby.
They played a lot of sports here, a big part of the ethos
of the school but rugby just probably
sat on top of that. There were great
First XV competitions, no doubt about that,
parents and teachers coaching, people wanting to be
involved in the game. Mums who probably know more
about the game than a lot of the men,
you know? It’s just what we’re brought up with,
it’s infused. I wouldn’t call it a religion, but it’s inherently
part of our lifestyle. High school’s really
important in New Zealand. The college system,
especially in the big cities, it’s now really about
recruiting players and offering them scholarships and about taking them into
other aspects of their education and life. It’s enormous. The First XV
thing in New Zealand now is just growing and growing,
especially now that it’s live on TV. When I was
at school, even back then, the First XV was considered the upper echelon
of the school. Most of them got their
UE accredited, most of them had tickets
to ride in all kinds of other aspects of the school.
So, yeah, it plays a huge part. Then you go to
structured competitions. We’ve had strong club
rugby competitions, strong provincial competitions, then along came Super Rugby
that added another layer, professionalised the game, then you go to
an international level. And then you make sure
that at all those levels, you’ve got leadership right,
because if you haven’t got the leadership right, you’re
not going to get anything right and I think that New Zealand
rugby, for all its history, with rare exceptions,
has been incredibly well led. And we’ve got
a talent pool here. We’re very lucky,
we’ve got a deep talent pool because playing
for the All Blacks is something that rugby
players aspire to here. We’re expecting
an uplift in popularity for the game and the 7s game coming off the back
of the Olympics, and having rippa rugby
and quick rip in the secondary
schools environment will be a big part
of the options we can put in front
of kids to start to get involved in the game
that ultimately might end up with them playing
at an Olympic Games sometime in the future. Sport doesn’t necessarily have an impact
on economies, or social, or whatever, but actually it
does because it can inspire somebody out of a particular
socioeconomic group. It gives you an opportunity. It can have an impact
on health – these fit rugby players, other kids want to be
like that. They do exercise and, obviously, it’s a great
export for our country. So New Zealand is interlaced
with the success of the All Blacks,
so they better keep winning. Takes more than one
to tackle him! Takes more than two. Takes more than three! Took them over the line. Kelly Brazier there with the
long pass off the right hand. McAlister had the option. We’d often talk about
the legacy of the team and the legacy’s about
its history, and those who have gone before
who’ve built this up, have proudly worn it,
then it’s someone else’s turn, then someone else’s turn again,
so you’re only passing through the jersey and all you want to
do is leave it better than you found it,
if you can possibly can, try and enhance the legacy. So that’s what drives
these guys, they know it’s not
permanent – yeah, once an All Black
always an All Black and you will have that title,
I suppose, in New Zealand for the rest of your days, but enhancing the legacy
is critically important. The mystique around
the All Blacks is all about why they win
and how they win. Winning breeds success
and it’s a habit and I think if you’re winning, everyone’s trying
to knock you off. But to still to be standing
here for this long and still be the benchmark
after so many decades is a testament to the guys that have set the platform
in the All Blacks jersey and a big pat on the back for
the guys that are still coming in, adding their
legacy to that jersey. (LAND OF LEGENDS)

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