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New Zealand

2010-10-25 19:36

Nickname: The All Blacks

Captain: Richie McCaw

Coach: Graham Henry

RWC Appearances: 6 (First in 1987)

Best result: Champions, 1987

The All Blacks are one of the greatest national sports teams in the world, in any code, and have achieved an almost mythical status.

New Zealand are the leading points scorers of all time and the only international rugby team with a winning record against every Test nation they have ever played.

They have an unmatched win ratio of 75 percent and have ranked as the number one team in the world on the IRB World Rankings log for more time than any other nation.

Only 5 of the top 20 ranked rugby union test nations have ever beaten New Zealand in over 100 years of international competition.

However, despite these incredible statistics and the fear and respect other Test sides hold for them, the All Blacks have only ever won one World Cup, the first in 1987

The inaugural Rugby World Cup was hosted in New Zealand and, as with every subsequent tournament, the All Blacks were firm favourites to win the title.

As expected, the home team was unstoppable - winning their pool games against Italy(70-6), Fiji (74-13) and Argentina(46-15) in stunning fashion. They then disposed of Scotland(30-3) in the quarter-finals, walloped Wales(49-6) in the semi-finals and eased past France (29-9) in the final.

The All Blacks were still the world’s best team four years later at the next World Cup, but recorded more modest victories in their first three games at the tournament.

New Zealand beat England (18-12), USA (46-6) and Italy (31-21) in the pool stages, then cruised past Canada (29-13) in the quarter-finals before losing to eventual winners Australia (16-6) in the semi-finals.

At the following World Cup in 1995, New Zealand returned to their scintillating best and recorded comprehensive victories over Ireland (43-19), Wales (34-9) and Japan (14-145) in the group stage.

In the knock-stages, the All Blacks triumphed over Scotland (48-30) in the quarter-final and edged out England (45-29) in the semi’s, but lost the tightly-contested final to South Africa (14-12).

The All Blacks cruised through the early stages of the World Cup again four years later, notching up wins against Tonga (45-9), England (30-16) and Italy (101-3) in the pool stage.

However, after beating Scotland (30-18) in the quarters, New Zealand were knocked out in the semi by France (43-31).
The 2003 World Cup in Australia was the tournament that cemented the All Blacks’ reputation as chokers.

The team recorded mammoth victories over Italy (70-7), Canada (68-6), Tonga (91-7) and Wales (53-37) in the group stages and eliminated South Africa (29-9) in the quarter-finals, but were stopped by Australia (22-10) in the semi’s.

More of the same was to follow for the All Blacks during the 2007 tournament in France. Once again, they were untouchable in the group stage of the competition and kept the scoreboard operators during their victories over Italy (76-14), Portugal (108-13), Scotland (40-0) and Romania (85-8).

However, they lost their quarter-final match against the France (20-18) and were sent crashing out of the competition.

The 2011 World Cup will be hosted in New Zealand for the first time since the inaugural tournament and, while most All Blacks supporters see this as a positive, it is not known whether the home support will help the side or add unwanted pressure to their campaign.


Forwards: John Afoa, Ben Franks, Owen Franks, Tony Woodcock, Corey Flynn, Andrew Hore, Keven Mealamu, Anthony Boric, Brad Thorn, Samuel Whitelock, Ali Williams, Jerome Kaino, Richie McCaw, Kieran Read, Adam Thomson, Victor Vito.

Backs: Mils Muliaina, Israel Dagg, Zac Guildford, Cory Jane, Isaia Toeava, Richard Kahui, Ma'a Nonu, Conrad Smith, Sonny Bill Williams, Daniel Carter, Colin Slade, Jimmy Cowan, Andy Ellis (Canterbury), Piri Weepu.

Key Player

Dan Carter
Height: 1.79m
Weight: 94kgs

The man with the mechanical boot is undoubtedly the best number 10's in the world and the best New Zealand has ever produced. Carter is a complete player and implement any game-plan handed to him.


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2011-10-26 16:45

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