Rugby Union in NZ

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The 2011 Rugby World Cup

The eyes of the world were on Auckland for the business end of Rugby World Cup 2011 when Eden Park hosted the Final as well as both semi-finals the weekend before.
The city also hosted nine pool matches, including the opening match at Eden Park in September.
Held every four years, Rugby World Cup is the third biggest sporting event in the world and was Auckland’s chance to showcase itself on the global stage.
The 2011 Tournament had an estimated television audience of more than four billion people, and we received close to 100,000 international visitors into New Zealand. Generally speaking the venues and the Cities all coped well and everyone seemed to have a great time. The NZ All Blacks won (just) the final so we are once again the World Champions!

In Auckland you can see the world’s finest players in action and enjoy a festival atmosphere for fans and locals alike throughout any winter.

Rugby union is the unofficial national sport of New Zealand. Rugby, as it is generally referred to by New Zealanders, is an integral part of New Zealand culture. The national team, the All Blacks, rank as the top international team in the world for the most period of time. The sport was known in New Zealand from 1870, and the game now holds close ties with the culture of the country. The top domestic competitions are the professional ITM Cup and amateur Heartland Championship, and above them, the Super 15, in which New Zealand has five franchises. The country hosted and won the first ever World Cup final in 1987, and have now won the 2011 tournament, which makes us World Chamops for the 2nd time – a huge boost for the sport in this Rugby–mad country.

Rugby Culture

In New Zealand there are 520 clubs, 141,726 registered players and 2309 referees. In colonial New Zealand, rugby football served to hold loyalty to the Crown within the emigrant population, whilst introducing British culture to the Māori population.It was the New Zealand Natives’ Rugby Tour of 1888/89 showed that New Zealand could compete with other nations, something they had trouble doing in another traditional sport, cricket. Similarly, the 1905-06 tour, in which the All Blacks went very close to a clean sweep tour (one loss against Wales), helped to create a sense of national pride around the All Blacks, as they appeared physically superior and pulled off an admirable performance on their British tour. It is also thought that this saw the emergence of the Kiwi as a national symbol. Rugby is considered to be a part of New Zealand life – dominating the sports media. The Haka, a Māori war dance which has been immortalised in popular culture by the All Blacks has become an iconic image of sport. Rugby being the unofficial sport of New Zealand, attracts large sporting attendances, both in New Zealand and in other rugby nations. As many as 5000 people have simply turned out to All Black training sessions. There is a pay TV channel dedicated to rugby in New Zealand.

All Blacks

The All Blacks playing the Wallabies. New Zealand, commonly referred to as the All Blacks, are the most successful team in international rugby. They have a positive winning record against all Test nations, and have a win record of over 74%. The first All Blacks Test match was played against Australia at Sydney Cricket Ground on 15 August 1903. New Zealand won 22 – 3, with The Sydney Morning Herald saying, ‘The present New Zealand team have shown form so far in advance of every fifteen opposed to them that it seems almost impossible for Australia to put a side into the field with any hope of victory…’ The major rugby playing nations of Scotland, Ireland, Italy and Argentina have yet to defeat the All Blacks in a test match. The All Blacks were winners of the inaugural Rugby World Cup in 1987 and were runners-up in 1995. The All Blacks were the only team to have reached the semi-final stage at every World Cup until the 2007 World Cup where they were defeated 20-18 by France in the quarter-finals. Now we have also won a 2nd World Cup in 2011.

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