Rugby and New Zealand: A Match Made in Heaven

Rugby Players
Source: Pixabay

Rugby is deeply entrenched into the lives of Kiwis. It’s a sport that borders on a national obsession, and it certainly explains why the team is so successful. Despite the fact only 4.4 million people are living in New Zealand, they are still consistently ranked as the best team in the world.

With such a successful team, betting on the NZ rugby team is an excellent choice on an online pokie, like Rugby Star. If you’re on the move, you can save the Haka for later and play from your phone in a mobile casino. Here’s a run-down of why this game so significant to the New Zealand people, as well as answers to a few questions you might have about the All-Blacks themselves.

Why is Rugby so important to Kiwis?

Before British settlers arrived in New Zealand, the native Māori had been played a similar game to the Rugby we know today. When the British colonists brought the sport with them, the indigenous people quickly adapted. When you combine this with the fact that the Māori were renowned for their commitment to fitness, and were naturally agile and robust, you create a recipe for a nation infatuated with Rugby. It was clearly a good combination, as the New Zealand Rugby League is considered one of the best leagues in the world.

Rugby Ball on the Field
Source: Pixabay

Part of the big appeal of the game is the rivalry with close neighbours, Australia. Both nations are exceptional at the game, and it’s always a tight match. The Kiwis demonstrate their Māori warrior heritage, by performing the Haka before the start of each game, a performance intended to intimidate the opposition.

Who is the best Rugby Player in New Zealand?

New Zealand has several legendary players, and it depends on what statistic you value the most. The most caps and Test appearances go to Richie McCaw, who’s played an incredible 148 Test matches. McCaw is one of only a handful of players who’ve won two rugby union world cups and was the captain of the All Blacks for many years. The most Test points in All Black history is Dan Carter, with an eye-watering 1598 points. Carter is best known for an outstanding performance that saw the Kiwis beat Australia in the 2015 Rugby World Cup Final. In terms of most tries, Doug Howlett takes the win, with an incredible 49 tries in 62 matches – that’s just shy of one try every match! Howlett is currently the seventh-highest try scorer in the game.

New Zealand Rugby Stadium Wellington
Source. Pixabay

Of them all, however, the late Jonah Lomu is widely considered the best New Zealand Rugby player of all time. Before his World Cup debut in 1995, wingers were generally fast but small. At 6ft 5 inches and 262lbs, however, Lomu was truly massive and changed the standard for many teams. Throughout his playing years, Lomu scored an impressive 37 tries and was involved in 63 New Zealand Tests. He’s probably most fondly remembered by fans for his 1995 World Cup rampage when, moving at a speed that seemed impossible for such a big man, he demolished the English opposition. Lomu passed away at only 40 in 2015, suffering a heart attack related to an ongoing kidney condition. The rugby community across the world mourned and his legacy as the ‘first true global superstar of rugby union’ changed the game forever.

FAQs and interesting facts

How much do the All Black rugby players make?

The All Blacks are elite athletes and are paid a pretty penny. The captain can expect to earn nearly $1 million as a salary – well above what most rugby players earn. Additionally, they’re given bonuses for winning tournaments. For instance, if they won the 2019 Rugby World Cup (they didn’t – South Africa did), they would have received a share of a $4.65 million pool, netting each player around $150,000.

How many times have the All Blacks lost?

In all Test matches, the All-Black has a win rate of 77.33%, with 457 wins and 113 losses out of 591 games. Historically, they’ve had the most difficult opposition from South Africa, Britain, and Australia.

Rugby in New Zealand
Source: Pixabay

Where else is rugby the most popular?

Rugby has traditionally always been popular in former British colonies. Mainland Europe, on the other hand, has tended to favour football as their sport of choice. Rugby is played mostly in New Zealand, Australia, Wales, South Africa and Fiji – which explains their team’s excellent track records. Additionally, Rugby is popular in England, Scotland, and Ireland.