New Zealand rugby celebrates 125th anniversary

Rugby was first introduced to Aotearoa in 1872

New Zealand rugby celebrates 125th anniversary

Captain Richie McCaw holds up the Webb Ellis Cup. Image: ©INPHO/Photosport/Ella Brockelsby

The most successful rugby nation in the world is today celebrating 125 years of the game in the country.

First introduced to Aotearoa in 1872, the sport has blossomed into the national identity as the small oceanic nation has dominated the game over the decades.

The All Blacks are the only international team with a winning record against every other nation and are the only country to win three Rugby World Cups.

Even the odd time they're not the best team in the world for a short period of time - they are not too far off the highest standard.

Success at World Cups eluded them between 1989 and 2011 but that anomaly has since been rectified and they are now the only team to ever successfully defend a Rugby World Cup.

All Blacks' captain Richie McCaw lifts the Webb Ellis cup in 2015. Image:  ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

In 11 series against the British and Irish Lions, they have only lost once. 

A new interactive site has been launched to celebrate their latest milestone: www.nzrugbyhistory.co.nz and speaking an its unveiling, Steve Tew, CEO of New Zealand Rugby said: "Over 125 years, New Zealand Rugby has evolved from its initial role to 'settle disputes' and 'develop a better system of inter-union visits' to become responsible for running and developing all areas of the game.

"We are grateful to Ernest Hoben and his contemporaries for their foresight 125 years ago. Rugby has evolved massively over the years and with running the game comes a responsibility to ensure it continues to remain relevant for future generations, not only in New Zealand but through our contribution to rugby on the world stage.

"While priorities have changed over the years, a passion for rugby has remained at the heart of everything we do. The website is a great reminder of where our organisation has come from and the challenges and successes it has had over 125 years."