Rugby as a sport originated in the 16th century and quickly spread across the continents of the entire globe. In each country, rugby has developed in its own special way. The most striking story was the evolution of this sport in New Zealand. Thanks to a combination of many factors, the New Zealand rugby school has become one of the strongest in the world. Let’s learn more about the history of rugby in this region and what made it so popular.
The Emergence of Rugby and its Development in the Polynesian Islands
The first person from Maori to show interest in rugby was the son of politician Charles John Monroe. While studying at Christ’s College London, he became acquainted with the fashionable game of English aristocrats and brought it to his homeland in the late 1860s. Ten years later, the first official game took place in the city of Nelson. In 1879, the first governing body for matches, the Canterbury Rugby Union, was founded.
In 1882 players from the Southern Rugby Union representing Wales visited New Zealand. Two years later, athletes from Polynesia paid a return visit and did not lose a single meeting, winning eight games in a row.
In connection with the formation of many local sports organizations in 1892, it was decided to create the Rugby Union, which united seven regional organizations.
A First Player From New Zealand
Rugby history buffs know that Allan James is considered to be the first player from New Zealand. Let’s learn more about this legendary personality.
Allan was born in September 1860 and already at school showed an interest in football. For six years, he played for his school team, and then played as a striker in the Taieri club. Allan was described by teammates as a hard-to-nail player who strived to never lose the ball.
Allan became part of the national team’s famous tour of South Wales. For 23 days of the tour, Allan took part in 8 matches and brought his squad six points.
Allan became the first representative from the District of Otago to compete at an international level.
The Rivalry Between the All Blacks and the Springboks
The most rapid period of development of local football was the time of rivalry with the South African team, which began in 1921.
The first meeting of the two teams took place during Springboks’ visit to New Zealand. At the end of all games, it turned out that the teams scored an equal number of points, which did not allow to determine the winner. After 7 years, the New Zealanders paid a return visit to Africa in order to win a landslide victory. By an evil irony of fate, their meetings also ended in a draw, which became the reason for the fierce rivalry of these teams.
The All Blacks suffered a series of crushing defeats to the South Africans in 1937. The next meeting of bitter rivals took place after the Second World War in 1949, where the All Blacks also lost.
Already in the early 1960s, the All Blacks team, led by coach Bob Stewart and captain Bob Dafa, scored a series of victories over South African players. The advantage in matches was 3 to 1. The team from Africa has never suffered such a major defeat on its territory. This event was the beginning of a series of victories for the national team. Until the 1970s, the All Blacks were top performers in world-class competitions.
Discover the Amazing History of Competitions
The islands of Polynesia are truly amazing places where the forces of nature endow people with extraordinary strength. Watching sports in which real Maori take part is a pleasure!