NZ Rugby History

NZ Rugby History

On Saturday the 16th of April in the year 1892, the New Zealand Rugby Union was formed at a meeting which took place in Wellington. The inaugural members were the provincial unions of Hawke’s Bay, Marlborough, South Canterbury, Wairarapa, Wellington, Manawatu, Nelson, Taranaki, and Wellington. At that time there were 3 major South Island Unions which continued to resist the NZRU’s central authority, Otago, Canterbury, and Southland.

The Black Jersey is Adopted

The NZRU formally took on the now famous black jersey in 1893, and made a selection of players to make up the first national team sanctioned by them for an Australian tour. Although an earlier team from New Zealand had headed Down Under in 1884, these are recognised as a team from New Zealand, and the players are documented as All Blacks.

A Complete and United Collection of Players

By the year 1895, after the additions of the unions of Canterbury, Otago, Southland, Bush, Horowhenua, Poverty Bay and the West Coast, the NZRU was deemed to be a comprehensive and combined collection of rugby players from New Zealand. The rugby map for this country, however, would be frequently redrawn in the decades to follow.

The First Life Member of the NZRU

At the annual meeting held in 1921, the NZRU went on to elect its first Life Member, George Dixon. Dixon was the manager for the 1905 Originals All Blacks and the first Chairman for the NZRU after he was appointed back in 1904. In another improvement, provincial delegates met up before the annual meeting in order to arrange for representative fixtures for the upcoming season, and this act introduced a brand-new level of coordination which took place nationally.

Provincial Rugby is Formed in New Zealand

In 1976, in an effort to assist matches being organised between provincial unions, the National Provincial Championship was formed. Although it had 2 divisions that first year, the format has been reorganised repeatedly throughout its history, most notably in 1992, when the Bonus Points system was introduced, which helped determine which team placed at the top. Auckland has consistently been the most successful team in the National Provincial Championship history, with 16 appearances as of 2005.

When the NPC concluded, there were 3 divisions and 27 unions under the jurisdiction of the NZRU, before it ended up being replaced by the Air New Zealand Cup and Heartland Championship in the year 2006. There were 14 teams in the top contest, including the brand new Tasman Makos, who created with the merger of the Nelson Bays and Marlborough Rugby Unions, and 12 teams in the part-time Heartland Championship. After sponsorship changes in 2010 and 2016, the Air New Zealand Cup first was renamed as the ITM Cup, and is now known as the Mitre 10 Cup.

The World Famous All Blacks

The All Blacks, New Zealand’s national rugby team, holds the top spot in world rankings, and have consistently been rated as the best team worldwide for more than a century. Their distinctive name, fascinating haka and black strips have become so well-known that even non-rugby fans are able to pick them out with ease.