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The All Blacks

All Blacks HakaNew Zealand is quite a sports mad country, especially in respect of its population size (which is about 4 mil, give or take the odd Qantas flight).

The national sport is rugby - although a lot more young kiwis play Soccer, Netball or enjoy competitive Swimming. The All BlacksOf those who do play rugby, a high percentage of those junior level players come from Auckland (pop 2 mil, give or take the odd traffic jam on the Bombay Hills).

Other teams defy the numerical odds and perform extremely well in National events and the International tournament called Super 14's played with Australia and South Africa (two other heavy weights of the rugby world).

The All Blacks are a fairly good side and often ranked, and acknowledged, as the number 1 team in the world. Having said that, most Kiwis would begrudgingly accept that their team is “the best rugby team between World Cups” i.e. they have a habit of cocking it up when it comes to the biggest global tournament, where anything short of winning the tournament outright, is considered as failing in the national expectations.

The Rugby World Cup has been held every 4 years since 1987 (when NZ won it) and will next be played in New Zealand in 2011. New Zealand will be strong favourites to win it at home - but they always are and apart from the iinitial victory back iin the 80's, have a dreadful habit of coming apart at the critical moment (normally, in recent times, against the French)...

If you want to see Kiwi pride in a nutshell, check out the YouTube video above.

A Haka is a traditional war challenge that the Maori warriors issued before entering battle. It is now performed by the All Blacks before the start of every international rugby match. The clip above comes from comes from a game between New Zealand and England.

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