The All Blacks
It is New Zealand rugby national team, which was born over a century ago. According to the legend, the nickname All Blacks was the result of a misprint appeared in a London newspaper in 1905 during the first European tour of the New Zealand team. It seems that the journalist was describing the vigorous team play “as if it consisted of all backs”, i.e. “all attacking players”, as in rugby the ball is only passed backwards. The editors, maybe unfamiliar with the rules of this sport, interpreted their own way the alleged misprint and added an “L” thinking of the players’ jersey colour, completely black with a silver-coloured fern leaf on the left-hand side of the jersey. Since then, the name All Blacks is part of the legend.
The only exception to the black of the uniform, apart from the fern leaf, is also a poppy embroidered on the jersey worn during the matches played against France: an habit started in 2000 as a tribute to the memory of New Zealand soldiers fallen in French soil aside the Allies during the Second World War.
In a century of history, the All Blacks have played more than 400 matches against other national teams all over the world, winning over 300. With a win percentage amounting to 75% - an absolute record in the history of rugby – the All Blacks are the strongest national team of all times.
A myth which the All Blacks renew before every match singing and dancing the “Haka”, the typical Maori dance; a ritual started in 1888 by the New Zealand Natives, the colonial team set up by the Brits, and then maintained in the All Blacks tradition. The All Blacks also perform a Haka called “Ka Matè”, but in special occasions they prefer the Haka called “Kapa or Pango”, to respect the multicultural composition of the team, reflecting especially the Polinesian cultural influence.
The fame of the All Blacks goes far beyond the world of rugby, to the extent that according to a study run at world level in 2006, the team ranks absolute fifth among the sports teams of the whole world and all specialities, from Formula 1 (the Ferrari team ranks second) to soccer (Juventus ranks seventh).
The attraction and level of attention enjoyed by the All Blacks are difficult to explain only with the absolute excellence of their performance. What really makes them unique before the people all over the world is the simplicity and purity of their values, experienced in a consistent way also on the pitch: their loyalty, their commitment to keep promises, their team spirit, their determination to obtain results, their modesty. This is the real force of the All Blacks.