The History of the All Blacks
After the New Zealand Rugby Football Union was formed in 1982, teams to represent that country were chosen for contests which saw them pitted against international opponents.
The Beginning of the All Blacks
The 1st tour by a side representing New Zealand was undertaken in 1894, to New South Wales, and New Zealand’s 1st Test match was played against Australia’s team in Sydney in 1903. The first Test that they played at home took place the following year, and the managed to defeat the British team at Wellington’s Athletic Park by 9 points to 3, and this win was a significant one. The British team had been unbeaten on their tour of Australia up until that time, but managed to win only 2 of the 5 matches they played in New Zealand.
1904 Sees Selectors Name a Squad
The selectors for New Zealand named a squad made up of 53 players from which a touring team would be selected late in 1904. The year following, on the 25th of February, a list of 16 players was identified as certainties for the tour, although 1 of these would eventually be unable to join as a result of injury. A final chance for selection took place during the North-South Inter-Island match on the 3rd of June 1905, and, at this point 25 players were chosen, with an extra 2 added just before the team left for England.
Early Matches for the All Blacks
The All Blacks 1st match took place on the 16th of September 1905, and was played against Devon. The latter went into the match as favourites, but the crowd of 6 000 was soon enthralled by the New Zealand team as they scored try after try, for a total of 12, racking up a final point score of 55 – 4.
The match which followed was played against Leicester on the 30th of September, and took place at Welford Road. 4 players in that team would go on to play in the English Test, more than any other club, but they did not manage to go on to win. After the longest period in All Blacks history without a score on tour, 25 minutes, George Smith ended the curse and they went on to triumph with a final score of 28 – 0.
After the next match, which saw them facing up to a team from Middlesex and managing to win with a final score of 34 – 0, the Daily Chronicle reported that the team’s managed to turn defence into a series of attacks with such “bewildering rapidity” that scrums were rendered a mere detail. The newspaper went on to say that there was not a single element of the game in which these players did not excel.
The Toughest Game of the Tour
On the 7th of October of that year, the All Blacks faced off with Durham County, the champions for the English county players. They ended up being the 1st team to manage to score a try against the All Blacks on this tour, and, even though the All Blacks had a small advantage of 6 – 3 by the time of the break, they took as this as motivation, and went on to rack up 10 unanswered points in the game’s 2nd half, managing a final score of 16 – 3.