The last of our Autumn International anthems is the Kiwis, the all blacks and the triple world champions. When you think of Rugby, you think of New Zealand. Go anywhere in the world… whether rugby is played there or not, and they will know about the All Blacks. They will also know a bit about the Haka. We wrote about the Haka a few months ago for the Lions tour of New Zealand… you should check it out!
New Zealand Rugby team was founded in 1884 and played their first international test match against the Aussies in 1903. From the start the Kiwis were a force to be reckoned with. In 1905 they went on a tour of Europe and North America, playing 34 games (5 of them were test matches) and lost once! It was this year they were given the nickname the All Blacks as their strip was completely black besides a silver fern emblem.
In the 100 odd years of playing Rugby they have faced 19 nations. Over that time only 6 of those countries have ever recorded a win against them. How impressive is that?! New Zealand have been 1st in the IRB rankings longer than everyone else combined. In the Tri Nations/ Rugby Championship- they have won the title 14 out of 21 times… Remember that Australia and South Africa – both 2-time world champions are also in that competition. Since the World Rugby Team of the Year award was created in 2001, the All Blacks have won it 10 times! Leaving just 6 years in its span for other countries to claim the prize.
More statistics to make their opposition crumble in fear!
They have only lost at home 38 times… Ever! In 435 test matches- giving them a 77.12%-win rate over 100odd years. Their longest winning streak was 18 test victories between 2015 and 2016 (shared by England as the world record).
Sometimes when you lose against the All Blacks, you lose badly. Argentina, Fiji, France, Ireland, Japan, Portugal, Samoa, South Africa and Tonga had their heaviest defeats from the All Blacks.
Not that anyone is surprised, but New Zealand are currently 1st in the IRB rankings, 3 points ahead of their closest rival, England. Their worst ever rating is 3rd… That’s right, bronze is the worst IRB ranking they’ve ever had! They have been 1st since 2011 and nobody has taken them off that top spot.
Normally at this point I note all the teams they have won against… I’m not going to do that.. Instead here’s who they have lost to!
South Africa- the most successful team against New Zealand! – winning 35 of the 95 matches – giving New Zealand a 60% win ratio.
Australia – 43 times out of 161 (win ratio of 68.94%)
British and Irish Lions – lost 7 of the 41 games, drawing 4 – overall win ratio of 73.17
France – lost 12 out of 58 matches, drawing 1 – overall win ratio of 77.58%
England – lost 7 of the 40 games played- drawing 1 – win ratio of 80%
Wales – have beaten the All Blacks 3 times out of 33 meetings- giving them a 90.91% win ratio against the Welsh.
Ireland – won a match last year- the first time ever against the All Blacks – they are also the team that stopped their 18-match winning streak. Coincidentally they also stopped England this year from going 19 matches unbeaten… 93.33% win ratio
Scotland – have never beaten the All Blacks but have drawn 2 matches out of 30 with them. Giving the All Blacks a 93.33% win ratio
Argentina – drew a match out of 26.. Still a 96.15% win ratio
The anthem is sung in Māori and then in English for Rugby matches. The English God Defend New Zealand was written in the 1870s with the Māori Aotearoa a few years later. The first performance of God Defend New Zealand was on Christmas Day 1876 and became more and more popular. By the 1940s it was used as the national hymn. Until the 1970’s the national anthem was God Save the Queen, but with the permission of Queen Elizabeth II, God Defend New Zealand was given equal standing as the national anthem. It wasn’t until the Rugby World Cup of 1999 that New Zealand decided to sing both the Aotearoa and God Defend New Zealand as their anthem.
E Ihowā Atua,
O ngā iwi mātou rā
Me aroha noa
Kia hua ko te pai;
Kia tau tō atawhai;
God Defend New Zealand
God of Nations at Thy feet,
In the bonds of love we meet,
Hear our voices, we entreat,
God defend our free land.
Guard Pacific’s triple star
From the shafts of strife and war,
Make her praises heard afar,
God defend New Zealand.
New Zealand face Scotland, Wales and France in this year’s Autumn Internationals. They have already had two games against the French which was a 38-18 victory in Paris to the All Blacks, followed by another victory in Lyon (23-28). Scotland have only ever drawn against the All Blacks, and it has been decades since Wales won. Will there be an upset on the cards this year?