Three years ago, New Zealand took home the crown of Rugby world championship in the most exciting game played against France. The next world cup, Kiwis were up playing against the giant Kangaroos, and Australia won in what could be described as the 'heroic' match that kept way too many rugby fans excited throughout the world.
Early this month, Kiwis sent out thrills and chills among the sports fans when the All Blacks played against the Eagles (US) in Chicago. The All Blacks went on a splendid romp to celebrate the 'return' of Kiwi men in rugby, making the sports fan in the US and world over sit up and take notice. THEY had arrived, and how! All Blacks had beat US Eagles at 74 - 6 in a victory that was awe-inspiring, and somewhat a fairy tale of sorts where the small marched home with the title, against the big! A crowd of over 60,000 rugby fans who celebrated the sport, in the US was left gasping for breath at the sheer display of techniques, courage and passion that could only be seen among the Kiwis since long!
When one looks at the stats of New Zealand having arrived on the world rugby scene, it must fill the heart of a sports fan with pride. This country, which has simply one quarter of a population of London, get there to conquer the field?
How did the culture of passion and its fans, come into being, in a rather silent march and explode on the field with such energy? Historically, how did the All Blacks come to win almost 75% of the matches they have played so far? This is passion abound; but how does it come by?
For starters, Kiwis carry immense pride in their country's legacy with regard to rugby. Because, All Blacks didn't just jump into the scene in the recent years. They have been a team, and have been playing since 1903. Generations together, the passion is has remained tacit; and pride, undaunted. They could very well be the team that's among the oldest that's blessed with a streak of victory year after year.
Rugby history has it that the Kiwis have been defeated by only five countries so far. And All Blacks have remained on top of their game since 1994 with not a single loss posted against them at any match worth its credit that has been played on the grounds of main rugby field in Auckland. Although, English may well take credit of having invented the game in early 18th century, it is the kiwis who have shown the world how to play, and play well for years!
The rugged kiwis who are genetically at an advantage over the rest of the countries who play rugby, they are tough in stamina, strong in technique and simply undaunted by their sportive spirit. The Kiwi farmers who are used to tough way of life, strike well on the sports field vexing the opponents, turning them upside down and breathless.
So it is little wonder that the celebratory Maori dance turns into some kind of an anthem on the field no sooner do the Kiwis post victory. Come rain or sunshine, they play fair, play hard and simply PLAY.
Those countries like the US who hope for an impossible victory were astonished to discover the gigantic sport being taken over by the men who trained under impossible circumstances. So it was little wonder that the crowd cheering 'US' 'USA' soon fell silent at the recent match and it was such a display of splendid sportsmanship when the audience discovered what it means to watch a hair-raising spectacular display of a game by a team that's hardworking, solid and undefeated!
The psyche of NZ is such that when consumerism is taken into account, it is not the popular junk food chains that are etched on the memory of these Maori dance lovers. Sports companies like Canterbury and others take up more mind space among the Kiwis who train to be part of All Blacks team at some point of their sports life.
Smaller towns in NZ have a legacy where children and elders watch a game of rugby together, to ensure the passion stays unaltered. Truly, Kiwis form a league of their own. And there isn't anyone who can dodge them yet.