The Originals: All Black Rugby Odyssey

One New Zealand sports team endures in international sporting and cultural mythology 100 years after running onto the field: the Originals -- the All Blacks whose 1905-6 tour of Britain, France and the US was nothing short of extraordinary. On Friday 8th September, 1905, the Rimutaka docked at Plymouth to deliver a team of New Zealand rugby players. They were amateurs -- men who played the game at home and for their country for the love of it -- but their approach set the standard. Over the next six months, these 'Originals' would play a staggering 35 matches, winning 34 of them and losing only, famously, to Wales. They would score 976 points and concede only 59. Their rugby odyssey has since become a foundation stone of New Zealand's proud All Black tradition. It has rightly taken its place in our folklore. This book details the place of rugby in New Zealand before 1905 and the build-up to the tour. It offers a commentary on the tour (with feature pages highlighting major aspects such as the role of the legendary Dave Gallaher as the team's captain, and the loss to Wales) and the return home. It examines the enduring legacy left by the players, many of whom went abroad again a decade later to represent their country in another arena -- at war. Finally, in THE ORIGINALS John McCrystal describes the changes we've seen since the year of the tour: in New Zealand rugby and in New Zealand at large.