THE ALL BLACKS
Faces - The Magazine of People, Places and Cultures for Kids|November/December 2020
UNLOCKING THE SECRETS TO SUCCESS
Rachel Kehoe

The most successful rugby team in the world is the New Zealand All Blacks. They have achieved three Rugby World Cups and have a win-rate of more than 75%, something no other team can say. But how has a nation of just 4.8 million people mastered an entire sport?

Rugby is a rough game. Players wear little to no protective gear as they fight to bring the ball past the goal line. A match involves two teams and lasts 80 minutes. Each 15-player team can run and kick the ball forward, but when passing to teammates, a player can only pass the ball backward.

New Zealand’s winning streak began in 1903 with its first international game against Australia. From there, they gained winning momentum, and in 1905, they were invited on a tour of Europe and North America. At each match, they proved resilient, dedicated, and determined to defeat their opponent. The team achieved sporting fame by winning all but one of their 35 matches—a 0-3 loss in the game against Wales in Cardiff.

It was during this tour that the All Blacks name emerged. Although opinions differ, the widely accepted view is that the name comes from their uniform of black shorts and jersey with a silver fern on the chest. This jersey has inspired deep respect, and those who wear it are admired and idolized. The Maori believe the jersey embodies the spirit of the team and call it taonga (TAA-ong-uh), a sacred object. It symbolizes a New Zealander’s opportunity to become the best in the world.

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