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March 08, 2022 4 min read

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New Zealand’s presence dominates the international rugby world. Their Haka and even the name “All Blacks” are universally recognized as representative of their strength and power. With a history of Rugby Championships, Rugby World Cups, number one rankings, global leading scorers, and incredible winning streaks, the All Blacks’ record speaks for itself. 


1870 - Charles Monro introduces the sport of rugby to New Zealand after studying in England. The first recorded rugby game in New Zealand takes place in May 1870  

1879 - New Zealand’s first rugby union, the Canterbury Rugby Football Union, is established.

1882 - The New Zealand Rugby Football Union is formed. This governing body curates the international team that will eventually be known as the All Blacks.

1884 - The team plays its first match, in New South Wales. 


1903 - The All Blacks travel to Sydney to play Australia in their first international test match. They win 22-3 in front of an audience of 30,000 spectators.   

1904 - The All Blacks play the British Isles in their first home test match.

1905 - The team embarks on a tour of Europe and North America, losing only 1 of 34 matches (to Wales). This is the year that the All Blacks begin performing a choreographed haka before each match -- they perform Te Raupahara’sKa Mate haka, which is the only haka they perform until incorporatingKapa o Pangoin 2005. The haka is a ceremonial Maori tradition that was initially used to prepare for battle and, in the context of rugby, represents a challenge to the opposing team. This is also the year that the nickname the “All Blacks” becomes popularized. The name comes from the team’s all-black strip.


1907 - A group of professional players assembles to tour the British Isles and play rugby league. They become known as the “All Golds” and form a New Zealand rugby league upon their return.

1924 - The All Blacks team touring the British Isles and France is nicknamed “The Invincibles” because they win every game. However, they are denied a grand slam because Scotland refuses to play them. They disapprove of the tour being organized by the RFU rather than the IRFB.

1949 - An All Blacks team tours South Africa, but due to apartheid Maori players are not able to compete. So while a non-Maori All Blacks team plays in South Africa, a Maori team plays Australia at home in New Zealand. In protest of apartheid, the All Blacks sent to South Africa refuse to perfom the haka before their matches. The teams both lost, and 1949 is deemed a terrible year in All Blacks history as they lost all six of their test matches. It was the first and only time that New Zealand played simultaneous test series.

1956 - The All Blacks earn redemption with a 3-1 test series win over the Springboks. It is South Africa’s first loss of the century.

1965-1970 - New Zealand achieves its longest winning streak with 17 test victories. At the time it is the longest winning streak of any nation.

1978 - The All Blacks earn their first grand slam.

1987 - New Zealand hosts and wins the inaugural Rugby World Cup.

1996 - The All Blacks win all four of their test matches in the tournament to win the first Tri-Nations (which consisted of New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa). Shortly after, New Zealand wins a test series in South Africa for the first time.

New Zealand won the Tri-Nations in 2002 and 2003 and won the Bledisloe Cup in 2003.

2005 - Under the coaching of Graham Henry, the All Blacks win the Tri-Nations and win a Grand Slam over the Home Nations for the first time since 1978.

In both 2005 and 2006, the All Blacks were nominated Laureus World Sports Award for Team of the Year and won the IRB (now World Rugby) award for Team of the Year.

The All Blacks retain the Tri-Nations and Bledisloe cup through 2008.

2009 - New Zealand begins a test match winning streak that lasts 15 matches.

2010 - New Zealander Dan Carter breaks the record for the most test points everscored by a single player with a total of 1,598 points.

2011 - The All Blacks win the Rugby World Cup.

2013 - New Zealand goes undefeated in the Rugby Championship.

2015 - The All Blacks win the Rugby World Cup, becoming the only team to win successive World Cups and the first team to win a third World Cup.

2016 - New Zealand once again goes undefeated at the Rugby Championship.

The All Blacks have a 77% winning record in test match rugby and are the only international team to have more wins than losses against every single opponent. Of the 19 nations that have competed against the All Blacks, 12 have never beaten them.

The All Blacks have ranked number one in the World Rugby Rankings more than all other teams combined.

The All Blacks have won 16 out of 23 Rugby Championships.


New Zealand’s original strip consisted of a blue jersey with grey shorts and grey socks. It wasn’t until 1893 that the team started wearing a black jersey, which they wore with white shorts and black socks. The team’s first all-black strip was adopted in 1905, the year that they were given the nickname “All Blacks.” The All Blacks’ home strip has been all black ever since.



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