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"The All Blacks are the greatest rugby franchise to ever take a field. We practically invented the game.."
- Peter Walker

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Kiwi rugby pride
by Peter Walker, 36, Christchurch, New Zealand
Oct 11, 1999

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For an isolated, small country with a population of only three million, New Zealand is an awesome sporting force. We have consistently topped the world in several codes for many years, and with the definition of the word 'sport' becoming increasingly broad, there is a good chance our anthem will soon be as popular as a Bing Crosby Christmas ballad or a GooGoo Dolls video.

As we speak, the All Blacks, NZ's rugby machine, are on track to meet arch rivals Australia in the final of the Rugby World Cup, presently being played in the United Kingdom. The All Blacks are the greatest rugby franchise to ever take a field. We practically invented the game. Well, defined it, anyway. Three countries have dominated the game for decades. The NZ All Blacks, or course. The Wallabies of Australia, or as we affectionately call them, the Wallies. And South Africa, although for a few years nobody played with them because they didn't like black people. But now they do, so we can play with them again. Actually, they are the current world champions, after a striking piece of luck at the 1995 World Cup, but are soon to be deposed by the All Blacks.

Just last week, NZ met Australia in the final of the Netball World Cup, played right here in Christchurch. 27 countries played in the tournament, and after stomping all of their playoff opponents, the Silver Ferns (NZ) were denied victory by one point in the final. NZ and Australia are age old rivals in Netball also (and SA), and have dominated the game for many years.

NZ currently holds the America's Cup, an ancient yachting icon, and will defend it, undoubtedly successfully, very soon, here in NZ. We have been a major contender in that international competition for many many years also, having won it at least a few times (I think).

New Zealand has been a force on the cricket pitches of the world for many decades also, the recent slump in form notwithstanding. The competition for "best" cricketing nation is spread much thicker than rugby or netball, to include Oz, and South Africa, but also England, India, the West Indies, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and several others. NZ boasts some of the greatest all round cricketers of all time, including Christchurch's Sir Richard Hadlee.

Okay, do we suck at any sport at all?

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