Who are the All Blacks
The jersey, the culture and the legacy
Over close to 120 years, the All Blacks have become renowned for pushing the limits of physical performance on the rugby field and upholding the honour of the team off it. Above all else, the All Blacks have developed a reputation for winning.
In 591 Test matches, they have a 77.33% winning record. They are one of only two teams to win three World Cups (the other being South Africa). Since world rankings were introduced in 2003, the All Blacks have held the #1 spot 80% of the time. They have won 10 of 16 Tri-Nations tournaments; six of seven Rugby Championships; and retained the Bledisloe Cup for 17 years.
Behind the success is a team culture that is built on humility, unity, and a deep reverence for the black jersey with the silver fern.
Players are expected to embody core values that include “better men make better All Blacks” and “no individual is bigger than the team”. Wearing the black jersey comes with a responsibility to enhance its legacy, which can be traced back to the very first All Blacks.
The history of New Zealand’s men in black
The first official All Blacks side, known as The Originals, toured Britain, France and the United States in 1905.
The All Blacks name comes from the black uniform the players wore, including the jersey, shorts, socks and boots.
The New Zealand Native team that toured Britain and Australia in 1888-89 also wore black, so the colour could have been adopted for consistency.
The original All Blacks set the tone for years to come, winning 34 of 35 test matches on tour.
Many great teams have followed, from the unbeaten Invincibles in 1924-25 to the All Blacks squad of 2015-16 that went on a record 18-match winning streak, which included a successful Rugby World Cup campaign in England.
Amateurs to athletes
Over that time, the All Blacks have transformed from a team of accomplished amateurs to elite professional athletes.
The early All Blacks were new settlers, farmers, gold miners, labourers, and soldiers - tough, fit men who played rugby next to their jobs.
The dawn of the professional era in 1995 meant that becoming an All Black was a viable career path for young men.
Players were paid to be All Blacks, which came with additional responsibilities to train and perform like professionals.
Today, the All Blacks are world class athletes. The team has a staff of coaches, trainers, nutritionists, physiotherapists, doctors, and sports psychologists.
They use state-of-the-art training and recovery technologies - anything that will give them the competitive edge to continue their winning ways.
Despite their ferocity on the rugby field and their superstar status in the eyes of fans around the world, the All Blacks are known for being humble.
Growing up in New Zealand helps to keep players grounded. Many All Blacks were raised in small, rural towns and came up through local school and club rugby teams.
The New Zealand Rugby Union ensures that the All Blacks remain connected to their communities and supporters. Players are regularly involved in promoting the game at a grassroots level.
The All Blacks are heroes in New Zealand. Whenever they play, they are expected to win and they almost always do.
As of January 2020, there have been 1185 All Blacks. All of them have carried the hopes of the nation on their shoulders and added their own piece to the All Blacks legacy.
Learn about the All Blacks
A visit to the All Blacks Experience will take you one a journey a player makes from club rugby to the legendary All Blacks. Discover the stories behind some of world rugby's most famour players, moments and matches.