The black, the silver and Ka Mate

The Rugby World Cup begins this week and to celebrate I’ve just released two new books about rugby. Each day this week I’m sharing interesting information about rugby to help you “warm up” for the tournament.

Day 2

Famous All Black traditions like the black uniform, the silver fern and the pre-match haka originated with the 1888 New Zealand Natives team.


The Natives were probably the first New Zealand sports team to wear black jerseys with a silver fern. They also introduced the world to the famous Ngati Toa haka, “Ka Mate”.

Tom Ellison

Tom Ellison was captain of the New Zealand Natives. He was also chosen to be captain of the first official New Zealand team in 1893. It was Tom’s idea that the New Zealand national team should wear the black jersey and silver fern the Natives had worn and that they perform “Ka Mate” before every game.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 14: The All Blacks perform the Haka during The Rugby Championship match between the New Zealand All Blacks and the South African Springboks at Eden Park on September 14, 2013 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

Find out more about the history of rugby in New Zealand and the Pacific in Rugby:The History on sale now!


Read about the legendary players whose running, tackling and kicking skills have made rugby the game it is in Rugby: The Players, the Skills and the Style


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