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Rugby

Events In History

15 April 2018

New Zealand rugby sevens team turned the tables on 2016 Olympic champions Australia, winning a thrilling final at Robina Stadium on the Gold Coast in extra time.

23 October 2011

The All Blacks won the Webb Ellis Cup for the second time in seven attempts, defending grimly to hold onto an 8–7 lead over France in front of 61,000 spectators at Eden Park, Auckland.

10 August 1995

All Blacks Josh Kronfeld and Jeff Wilson signed contracts with the New Zealand Rugby Football Union (NZRFU), heralding the victory of Rupert Murdoch over Kerry Packer in a battle for the right to televise professional rugby.

20 June 1987
With Michael Jones, John Kirwan and David Kirk scoring tries, the All Blacks defeated France 29–9 at Eden Park, Auckland. Kirk became the first captain to lift the Webb Ellis Cup.
12 September 1981

The third and deciding rugby test at Eden Park, Auckland, is best remembered for the flares and flour bombs dropped onto the playing field. Outside the ground, violence erupted on an unprecedented scale.

29 July 1981

Up to 2000 anti-Springbok tour protesters were confronted by police who used batons to stop them marching up Molesworth St to the home of South Africa's Consul to New Zealand

25 July 1981

Anti-tour demonstrators invaded Hamilton’s Rugby Park, forcing the abandonment of the Springboks–Waikato match.

11 November 1978

With two minutes to play in a rugby test match against Wales, All Black lock Andy Haden flung himself sideways in an attempt to secure a match-winning penalty.

10 April 1973

Following police warnings of civil strife, Prime Minister Norman Kirk informed the New Zealand Rugby Football Union that the government saw ‘no alternative’ to a 'postponement' of the planned tour by the South African Springboks.

10 May 1960

Despite protests, the controversial rugby tour went ahead. The issue of sporting ties with South Africa would eventually split the country in 1981.

3 June 1936

The legendary All Black lock was a physically tough, uncompromising player. Rugby writer Lindsay Knight described Colin Meads as New Zealand's equivalent of Australia's Sir Donald Bradman or American Babe Ruth as a sporting legend.

9 August 1930

Nepia was one of the stars of the 1924-5 All Blacks, playing in all 32 matches on the team's tour of the British Isles, France and Canada. He played the last of his nine tests in 1930, against the British Lions.

7 September 1921

A South African journalist was outraged when white spectators supported the New Zealand Māori rugby team playing the touring Springboks at Napier.

16 December 1905

A great rugby rivalry was born when a try by All Black Bob Deans was disallowed, resulting in the only loss of the ‘Originals’ tour.

16 September 1905

The first fully representative New Zealand rugby team to tour the northern hemisphere was known as the ‘Originals’. They won 34 of their 35 matches and popularised both the haka and the ‘All Blacks’ nickname.

20 August 1904

The New Zealand Free Lance printed a J.C. Blomfield cartoon in which a plucky kiwi morphed into a moa as the All Blacks defeated Great Britain 9–3 in the first rugby test between Motherland and colony. This may have been the first use of a kiwi to symbolise the nation in a cartoon.

16 April 1892

As rugby grew in popularity in New Zealand, it became necessary to standardise the administration of the game in the colony. Despite some opposition, a New Zealand Rugby Football Union was founded.

3 October 1888

The privately organised rugby team was the first to wear the silver fern and an all-black uniform.

28 April 1888

The first British rugby team to tour New Zealand played its first match, against Otago, at Dunedin’s Caledonian Ground in front of 10,000 spectators.

22 May 1884

The first representative New Zealand rugby team played its first match, defeating a Wellington XV 9-0 before embarking on a tour of New South Wales.

14 May 1870

Around 200 people were on hand at Nelson’s Botanic Reserve to watch a game of football played under Rugby rules.

19 June 1869

The first game of football in New Zealand played under Rugby rules may have been a match between Whanganui Town and Countr at suburban Aramoho on Saturday 19 June 1869

Articles

Life in the 20th century

Exploration of everyday life in New Zealand from 1900 to the mid-1980s Read the full article

Page 6 - Appearances

We present ourselves to the world by the way we dress and wear our hair. Whether we have carefully selected from a full wardrobe or simply grabbed the first thing at hand, our

Natives' Rugby Tour, 1888-89

The title of 'The Originals' was bestowed on the next New Zealand rugby team to tour Britain, that of 1905-6, but even though it was soon forgotten, the Natives' tour was to have enduring significance for New Zealand rugby and society. Read the full article

Page 1 - New Zealand Natives' rugby tour of 1888-9

The title of 'The Originals' was bestowed on the next New Zealand rugby team to tour Britain, that of 1905-6, but even though it was soon forgotten, the Natives' tour was to have

Page 2 - Rugby in 1888

The rugby played by the Natives was different from the game we know today.

Page 3 - Maori and rugby

In 1872, 'Wirihana' became the first recorded Maori rugby player when he turned out for

Page 4 - Preparations

In the absence of any body regulating the game in New Zealand, Eyton was free to promote a tour of Britain as a private

Page 5 - The 'Noble Maori' arrive

After playing nine matches in New Zealand and two in Melbourne in the southern winter of 1888 (with only two losses), the Natives set off for Britain by

Page 6 - Daily routines

Between their first and last matches in Britain, the Natives played on average every 2.3

Page 7 - Unsporting behaviour?

Although hacking and tripping had been banned in the 1870s to make the game safe enough to appeal to gentlemen, rugby remained

Page 8 - Natives and northerners

In 1888 the gentlemen who ran the Rugby Union (and the Empire) were based in southern England, and the England test was played in London. Yet the playing strength of the English

Page 9 - Rugby and society

What effect did the Natives' tour have on rugby and wider New Zealand society? It showed that New Zealanders could compete on equal terms with representatives of the imperial

Page 10 - Matches played

Games and scores Total (rugby games only): played 107: won 78, drew 6, lost 23 Points for: 772; Points against: 305 In Britain: played 74: W49, D5, L20 Points for: 394; Points

Page 11 - Further information

Sport, 1940-1960

The mid-century decades brought more mass participation in sport, the consolidation of many national competitions, and greater achievement at international level. Read the full article

Page 1 - Sport in New Zealand 1940-1960

The mid-century decades brought more mass participation in sport, the consolidation of many national competitions, and greater achievement at international

1981 Springbok tour

For 56 days in July, August and September 1981, New Zealanders were divided against each other in the largest civil disturbance seen since the 1951 waterfront dispute. The cause of this was the visit of the South African rugby team – the Springboks. Read the full article

Page 1 - The 1981 Springbok rugby tour

For 56 days in July, August and September 1981, New Zealanders were divided against each other in the largest civil disturbance seen since the 1951 waterfront dispute. The cause

Page 2 - All Blacks versus Springboks

Since rugby went professional in 1995 countries like Australia, England and France have challenged New Zealand and South Africa's claims to be the two powerhouses of world

Page 3 - Politics and sport

South Africa's apartheid policies and attitudes created obvious problems for New Zealand rugby, given the prominence of Māori in the

Page 4 - Stopping the 1973 tour

Keeping sport and politics separate was becoming increasingly difficult. In July 1969 HART (Halt All Racist Tours) was founded by University of Auckland students with the specific

Page 5 - Gleneagles Agreement

The All Blacks accepted an invitation to tour South Africa in 1976, when world attention was fixed on the republic because of the Soweto

Page 6 - Battle lines are drawn

Tour supporters were determined that the first Springbok visit to New Zealand since 1965 would not be spoiled. The anti-tour movement was equally determined to show its opposition

Page 7 - Tour diary

Select itinerary of the 1981 tour by the Springbok rugby

Page 8 - Impact

In Hamilton the protesters occupying the pitch had chanted 'The whole world is watching'. The same applied to New Zealand as a nation. Some believed the tour was an opportunity to

1987 Rugby World Cup

In a country where rugby became a surrogate for religion, hosting and then winning the first Rugby World Cup was a big deal. The story of how the tournament came about mixes the worlds of sport, politics and money. Read the full article

Page 1 - The 1987 Rugby World Cup

In a country where rugby became a surrogate for religion, hosting and then winning the first Rugby World Cup was a big deal. The story of how the tournament came about mixes the

Page 2 - Origins of international rugby

Before the 1987 Rugby World Cup and the professional era, rugby prided itself on extolling the virtues of friendly rivalry.

Page 3 - The long road to the cup

There were many obstacles along the road to the first Rugby World Cup.

Page 4 - Organising the tournament

The Rugby World Cup was set to take place in May or June 1987, and two venues in Australia and eight in New Zealand would hold games.

Page 5 - A world cup at last

With the staging of the Rugby World Cup, rugby had established itself as a commercial market, and the financial viability of the world cup concept was assured.

Page 6 - Further information

Regional rugby

The passion and parochialism of provincial rugby helped give the game a special place in New Zealand’s social and sporting history. Read brief histories, highlights and quirky facts about each of New Zealand's 26 regional rugby teams. Read the full article

Page 1 - Regional rugby

The passion and parochialism of provincial rugby helped give the game a special place in New Zealand’s social and sporting history. Read brief histories, highlights and quirky

Page 2 - Overview

General overview of regional rugby in New Zealand, including timeline and table showing changes in scoring

Page 3 - Provincial competitions

Overview of the Ranfurly Shield, the National Provincial Championship and other regional rugby

Page 4 - Northland rugby

History and highlights of rugby in the Northland

Page 5 - North Harbour rugby

History and highlights of rugby in the North Harbour

Page 6 - Auckland rugby

History and highlights of rugby in the Auckland

Page 7 - Counties Manukau rugby

History and highlights of rugby in the Counties Manukau

Page 8 - Waikato rugby

History and highlights of rugby in the Waikato

Page 9 - Thames Valley rugby

History and highlights of rugby in the Thames valley

Page 11 - King Country rugby

History and highlights of rugby in the King Country

Page 12 - Taranaki rugby

History and highlights of rugby in the Taranaki

Page 13 - East Coast rugby

History and highlights of rugby in the East Coast

Page 14 - Poverty Bay rugby

History and highlights of rugby in the Poverty Bay

Page 16 - Whanganui rugby

History and highlights of rugby in the Whanganui

Page 18 - Horowhenua Kapiti rugby

History and highlights of rugby in the Horowhenua

Page 19 - Wairarapa Bush rugby

History and highlights of rugby in the Wairarapa

Page 20 - Wellington rugby

History and highlights of rugby in the Wellington

Page 21 - Tasman rugby

History and highlights of rugby in the Tasman

Page 22 - Buller rugby

Highlights from Buller rugby

Page 23 - West Coast rugby

History and highlights of rugby in the West Coast

Page 24 - Canterbury rugby

History and highlights of rugby in the Canterbury

Page 25 - Mid Canterbury rugby

History and highlights of rugby in the Mid Canterbury

Page 26 - South Canterbury rugby

History and highlights of rugby in the South Canterbury

Page 27 - North Otago rugby

History and highlights of rugby in the North Otago

Page 28 - Otago rugby

History and highlights of rugby in the Otago

Page 29 - Southland rugby

History and highlights of rugby in the Southland

Page 30 - Best year ever?

Join the debate about the best year in the history of your region's rugby

Page 31 - Further information

Further reading about New Zealand's regional rugby

Māori rugby timeline

This timeline covers some of the key events and major players in the history of Māori rugby. It was compiled to mark the centenary of the first official New Zealand Māori team. Read the full article

Page 1 - Māori rugby timeline

This timeline covers some of the key events and major players in the history of Māori rugby. It was compiled to mark the centenary of the first official New Zealand Māori

Page 2 - Further information

Links and books for further reading about Maori

Related keywords

A rugby game between US servicemen and a New Zealand team was described as 'mayhem'

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