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New Zealand

New Zealand Kiwis
Country Name: New Zealand
Local Name (Maori): Tima riki motu Aotearoa
Team Name: New Zealand Kiwis
Nicknames: Kiwis
Colours: Black and White
Inaugurated: 1907
First WC Appearance:
No. Of RLWC Titles: 1
Governing Body: NZRL
Region: Asia-Pacific

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New Zealand Kiwis

The New Zealand national Rugby League team are one of the 3 powerhouses of world rugby and are a former world champions after beating Australia in the 2008 world cup.

The New Zealand Kiwis have appeared at very world cup since its inception in 1954 but it wasn’t until that win 2008 that they really joined the heavyweights of Word rugby league.

The New Zealand test team features many of the world’s greatest rugby players and it is no surprise that it has been the Kiwis who have managed to push the Kangaroos at the very top level of Test Rugby League. Their World Cup win in 2013 announced the world that they can mix it with the Aussies and even defeat them in their own back yard but the biggest issue for the Kiwis has been building upon successes and showing the consistency needed to remain as the number 1 ranked test team in Rugby League.

The New Zealand Kiwis have the advantage of facing off against the Kangaroos at least once a year in the Anzac Day Test Match, held mid-season every year and with their entire squad bar the odd call up from the Super League) featuring player plying their trade in the NRL, the Kiwis go into matches against all Test teams with the belief that they can win.

Many of the New Zealand test players are not just regulars for their club sides but they are the stars of their NRL club sides and that really makes the difference at this level. The national team is also boosted by the New Zealand Warriors, a club side based in Auckland who play in the NRL. That gives a simple pathway for young New Zealanders to play in the top Rugby League club competition and it also means that many of the national side play for the same domestic team which is a great for moral and for those partnerships that national teams find hard to build.

New Zealand National Rugby League Team

The New Zealand Kiwis are always one of the most exciting nations to watch no matter what the tournament as they can play some of the most creative attacking rugby but they also can struggle in defence which helps to make for high scoring games.

Whenever the Kiwis play, there is always a buzz around the match and when they come up against the likes of England, Australia, or Tonga, there matches are simply must watch for all Rugby League fans no matter if you are from new Zealand or not.

Colours and Kit

As you would expect from a New Zealand representative rugby tam, the main colour of the Kiwis is black with their kits featuring a mostly black shirt with a white chevron over the chest.


Behind the Australian Kangaroos and Great Britain/England, the New Zealand Kiwis are the most successful Rugby League nation in the world and they have won just about all that there is to win, certainly on the world stage and in tier 1 level events.

That was capped off in 2008, when the kiwis pulled off a huge shock to defeat the hosts Australia in the final of the World Cup to become the 2008 World Champions.

They have also won the Tri-Nations, in 2005 over here in the UK and the 4 Nations in both 2010 and 2014.

Notable Players

As you would expect from such a leading nation, the Kiwis have featured many household names and superstars of the game throughout its history.

For their first 100 year sin existence, between 1907-2006, a team of the century was announced and that highlights many of the stars from the early years. That team consisted of Des White, Tom Hadfield, Tommy Baxter, Roger Bailey, Philip Orchard, George Menzies, Stacey jones, Cliff Johnson, Jock Butterfield, Ruben Wiki, Mark Graham, Ron Auckland, and Mel Cooke.

Over the last couple of decades in the ‘modern era’ their have also been lots of stars names including the likes of Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Benji Marshall, Shaun Johnson, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, and Simon Mannering.


Rugby League in New Zealand has one of the longest histories outside of Great Britain after it was taken back to the country by Charles John Monro, who was the son of the speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives who had been over in the UK for College.

He became a fan of the new code and arranged a match between Nelson College and Nelson Football Club in May 1870.

The game really took hold after a tour of the UK by the countries All Black Ruby Union side, they saw the popularity of the 13 man code. Then All Black George William Smith teamed up with an Australian businessman to create a representative Rugby League team for New Zealand who set sail for a tour of Great Britain, starting in 1907.

Those early trailblazers were known as the All Golds, as they were professional whilst the All Blacks were still amateur but they soon become known as the Kiwis, starting with their first home test match which took place in 1910 against Great Britain.

They continued to tour Britain and Australia and welcome countries to face them over the next few decades and they then made headlines once more in 1954 when they featured in the first ever Rugby League World Cup match when they faced the hosts France in a losing effort.

The Kiwis have played at each and every World Cup to date and have enjoyed good runs at the majority of them but it was at the 2008 edition when they shock the world and won the final after a shock win over the hosts Australia.

That win had been coming however in many ways as they had won the Tri-Nations in 2005 and they then went onto use that World Cup win to build confidence and to go on and win the 2010 and 2014 4 Nations.

Since those ‘glory days’, the Kiwis have struggled for consistency and for stability away from the field but they have a hugely talented team and lots of standout players from the NRL so they can never be taken for granted whenever they take the field and the Kiwis pre-match Haka still remains one of the iconic sights and sounds of world rugby.

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