New Zealand International Rugby: What It Means to Be an All Black
As the host nation of the 2011 Rugby World Cup, the New Zealand All Blacks had home-field advantage in every game they played in the tournament.
This gave them the little extra boost they might have needed to win the long sought-after Webb Ellis Cup, something they had been chasing for the past 24 years.
But, when you’re the All Blacks, do you really need home-field advantage?
The answer to this simple question is no. This is because they are a different breed in rugby.
The sport plays a major role in many Kiwis' religion, and it is in the blood that courses through their veins. If you become one of the elite few to get the chance to wear that sacred black jersey, you will be seen as a god in the eyes of the public for the rest of your life.
It is a great honor to play for your country in New Zealand. If you should be so lucky to be gifted with the opportunity, you should grasp it with both hands and never let go.
But, with rugby being the country's national sport, it is not often that an opportunity to play for the All Blacks arises. You have to be the best at what you do to receive a cap for this black force in world rugby.
The team that the head coach fields consists of players who are so good at what they do that they could walk onto any other rugby team on the planet and start immediately. This truly shows the standard you have to meet to represent New Zealand in rugby.
New Zealanders eat, sleep and breathe rugby and this is the reason why the players are so superior.
In New Zealand, rugby is played to a very high standard at all levels throughout the school and club scenes. This across-the-board level of play is the reason members of the All Blacks are without parallel in rugby.
Since the standard of rugby is so high, it sets New Zealand apart from the rest of the countries it competes against. No other country in the world plays rugby with the skill and intensity that the All Blacks bring to the game.
Their work rate is phenomenal, and that is what makes them leagues ahead of their opposition. It is also the reason why, at the end of every year and season, they sit comfortably in the No. 1 spot of the IRB world rankings.
Now that the All Blacks have lifted the Webb Ellis Cup for the second time in the tournament's history—the first was in 1987, the Rugby World Cup's inaugural year, when New Zealand and Australia shared host-nation duties—it is only going to fuel their passion even more for the sport.
It is going to make them even hungrier for success.
There is no doubt that preparations to defend their title are already being implemented for the 2015 Rugby World Cup, to be hosted by the 2003 champion England. New Zealand is already preparing, and it will be determined to retain the trophy at all costs.
This is the drive that the country has for success in the sport, and it is the reason why the Kiwis are the best at what they do. This is why they remain unchallenged and why they will continue to dominate world rugby.
The All Blacks will continue to do this until another country steps up and shows them that they are not the only nation out there who can play this profound sport of rugby at the highest level.
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