Are the All Blacks winning more than ever?

June 9, 2007

I have a few hours to kill before the start of tonights All Blacks test vs. France. So, a rugby post seems appropriate.

If you’re a rugby fan you’ll already know about Inky.

Or, at least, you do now.

Here are two quotes from one of his recent newsletters that jumped out at me:

Now that we have man-mountain forwards ourselves, with our all-round skills still in abundance we are compiling a higher win ratio than ever.

We will play rugby better than anyone else because we live and breathe its core principle of fourteen men working to put a fifteenth into space.

A higher win ratio than ever? Really?

Here are what the numbers show:

When Played Won %
1900s 14 11 79%
1910s 10 8 80%
1920s 14 7 50%
1930s 22 14 64%
1940s 10 4 40%
1950s 30 22 73%
1960s 42 35 83%
1970s 45 27 60%
1980s 57 45 79%
1990s 92 68 74%
2000s1 82 68 83%

So, yes, they are winning now more than ever. And playing more than ever too!

In the 20 years since the first World Cup in 1987 the ABs have played 193 tests and won 154 of them (hopefully 155 by the time many of you read this). That’s an 80% win record while playing more games than were played in the previous 80 years.

Here is how they stack up against quality opposition 2 in the World Cup era:

Opposition Played Won %
Australia 44 27 61%
England 14 10 71%
France 21 15 71%
South Africa 33 23 70%
TOTAL 112 75 67%

So even against the very best they still win twice as often as they lose.

Of course, the only problem with sustained exceptional performance like this is that it comes to be taken for granted.

Stats courtesy of

  1. includes 2000-2007, up to and including last weekends test vs. France. ↩︎

  2. that is, countries that have played in one or more World Cup final. ↩︎