Why Rugby Is a Success in New Zealand

Every time the All Blacks come up against an opponent, many people, including rational judges never see them (the All Blacks) losing. Even if some opponents have, in the past, managed to pull off upsets against New Zealand (which has been so rare), the country still bears the tag as the best in rugby by a mile (as of 2018) – history has it all. As a matter of fact, the All Blacks have consistently bore the highest win percentage, since Test rugby came into being. And no one gets closer; not even France or South Africa. Undoubtedly not Wales, Australia, or England. Having world the Rugby World Cup in 1987, 2011, and 2015, New Zealand is surely deservedly at the summit of rugby charts. But why is the country so successful at this contact sport? Here is why:

Early Start

Like football, rugby needs to be learned right from early stages of a player’s life, and this is something that New Zealand understands pretty well. Kiwi Kids are grabbed by rugby while they are still very young. The kids learn catching, passing, evading, and running. Fear for injuries? Wait a minute. In New Zealand, there is Rippa rugby, which is a non-contact rugby version that suits children, as young as three-year olds. A playing field, an instruction DVD, and a Rippa Rugby kit are staples in every primary school in the country.

The Country’s Cultural Mix

New Zealand’s genetic make-up is a blend of speed, power, and strength. Players of Fijan, Maori, and Tongan descent naturally posses these attributes, which enable them to be formidable opponents in rugby. Think of “The Bus,” a nickname given to Julian Savea, the top scorer of tries in the Rugby World Cup 2015, which was held in England. Standing 6 foot and 4 inches tall, Julian is an imposing figure that no opponent would dare want to face.

Well Designed Rugby Programmes

Kiwi children go through a series of programmes, right from the age of five. These programmes are meant to impart rugby skills in them. Typically, there is nothing like set pieces, kicking, or tackling between the age of five and seven. From age eight, children begin to learn defence skills, where they are taught to follow the hips, rather than feet or the ball. Once the kids reach age 11, they begin to participate in fifteen-a-side matches. Still, there is no kicking or tackling at this stage; it is about ball-in-hand and that’s all. If a side concedes a penalty at this stage, the opponents are awarded possession rather than a kick at goal.

High School

Once the kids get to high school, things turn up the gear from just throwing and running. Children who depict a real rugby talent and passion may get scholarships to study in the top rugby schools in New Zealand, including Rotorua Boys High School and Old Boys High School. This demonstrates the extent of the country’s commitment in producing future rugby stars. These schools employ professional physiotherapists, weight rooms, ice-baths, and other facilities to help students perform at their best.