G’day mates! English Marie here, are you ready to see two powerful rugby teams go head to head? Sunday, November 1, 2014 the greatest rugby team in the world- the NZ All Blacks, will face off with the USA Eagles. To top it off, they’re playing here in Chicago at Soldier Feild! In celebration of this momentous occasion, we’d like to share a little bit of New Zealand rugby history.
Rugby is New Zealand’s national sport and has deep roots in kiwi culture and heritage. A country built with a strong backbone, it’s no surprise that their national team is one of the toughest and most feared n the Rugby world. New Zealand rugby players are hard-hitting, skillful sportsmen. The All Blacks captain, Richie McCaw credits the grit of the early men of New Zealand rugby with Canterbury the passion and pride of today’s players.
- The first New Zealand rugby match ever played took place in Nelson on Saturday 14 May 1870.
- The first official New Zealand rugby team was selected in 1884 for a tour to New South Wales.
- The New Zealand Rugby Union was formed in 1892, to bring the game to the national level.
- In 1875, the first inter-provincial match took place in Dunedin, between Auckland Clubs and Dunedin Clubs. A few years later the first Provincial Unions were formed in Canterbury and Wellington.
- In 1893 the New Zealand Rugby Union officially adopted the black jersey as the national playing strip and selected the first NZRU sanctioned national team.
- In 1948 the NZRU was officially admitted as a member of the International Rugby Board- quite a long time since their first bid in 1908.
- In 1987 the first Rugby World Cup took place in Australia and won by the New Zealnd All Blacks.
- By 1995 following the Rugby World Cup in South Africa, international rugby turned professional.
- In 2011 the Rugby World Cup was held in New Zealand, and won by the All Blacks! A monumental win on home soil.
The Haka is a pre-match ritual that amps up the All blacks both mentally and physically. It has been closely associated with the All Blacks since 1888, however its origin goes back much further in history with the traditions of the New Zeleand Maori. There are many different forms of haka, relating to different parts of life. For example, there is a haka for welcoming visitors and a haka for preparing for war. The All Blacks perform one of two hakas before every game. Ka mate, Ka mate and Kapa o Pango. Ka mate, Ka mate is the original All blacks haka, composed in the early 19th century by a famous Maori warrior cheif, Te Rauparaha. Kapa o Pango, was written in 2005 by Derek Llardelli, an expert in Maori culture and customs. This haka roughly translates as ‘All Blacks,’ and references the iconic silver fern of the kiwis. The All Blacks perform the haka with precision and intensity mirroring their approach to rugby itself. But don’t take my word for it, watch this powerful dance in action.
Ready to watch some rugby? Find your nearest rugby pub, grab a seat and cheer along your mates! Interested in visiting New Zealand? Check out some of our sample itineraries by clicking here. Give us a call at 312-951-8517 and let us handcraft you a trip of a life time!