Rugby in New Zealand is more than just a game, it forms the sporting backbone of the nation. From grass roots to international super-teams, rugby is supported by passionate kiwi fans.
Rugby is the national obsession of New Zealand and a huge determining influence on New Zealand life and culture. Rising from cities, small towns and country paddocks, no part of New Zealand’s landscape is quite complete without a set of Rugby goal posts. There are signs of the sport at every corner, whether it’s a young boy perfecting his kick at the park or a proud supporter wearing his team’s shirt to the mall, you can’t help but be captivated by the game.
Rugby was introduced to New Zealand in 1870 by Charles Monro. Born near Nelson, Monro studied in England before returning home. He introduced the game to friends in Nelson, which lead to the first rugby game being played at Botanical Reserve, Nelson (a sign now stands on the ground to commemorate the game).
By 1879, the game's popularity was expanding and the first rugby unions were formed in Canterbury and Wellington.
The New Zealand Rugby Football Union (NZRFU) was established in 1892.
As the country’s national sport, today rugby is a part of Kiwi culture, with some major events dominating our annual sporting calendar. With The Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan, once again all eyes will be on New Zealand's national team, The All Blacks. You can hear the mighty Haka echo throughout stadiums when the All Blacks take on sporting rivals in events like The Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup competitions. Locally, regional teams battle it out for the winning title in the Super 15 and Mitre 10 Cup competitions.