New Zealand has a rich history of rugby excellence, consistently producing world-class players and teams that dominate the world stage. The question of why New Zealand is so good at rugby has been the subject of much debate and speculation. This article explores the factors that contribute to New Zealand’s success in rugby, from the grassroots development of the sport to the unique cultural values that underpin the nation’s rugby prowess. Get ready to discover the secrets behind New Zealand’s dominance in the world of rugby.
New Zealand has been dominating the world of rugby for several reasons. One reason is the country’s passion for the sport, which is deeply ingrained in its culture. Another reason is the success of the country’s rugby teams, particularly the All Blacks, who have a long history of winning international tournaments and competitions. Additionally, the New Zealand Rugby Union has a strong development program that identifies and nurtures young talent, ensuring a steady stream of skilled players. Finally, the country’s rugby coaches and tacticians are highly respected for their innovative strategies and ability to adapt to changing game conditions. All of these factors have contributed to New Zealand’s dominance in the world of rugby.
The Origins of Rugby in New Zealand
The Influence of Maori Culture
The influence of Maori culture on the development of rugby in New Zealand cannot be overstated. Maori, the indigenous people of New Zealand, have a rich history of traditional games and sports that predate European colonization. These games, known as “waiata” or “tikanga”, were often characterized by their physicality and competitive nature, with a strong emphasis on teamwork and strategy.
One of the most significant ways in which Maori culture influenced rugby is through the haka, a ceremonial dance that is performed before each game by the New Zealand national rugby team, the All Blacks. The haka is a powerful display of strength, unity, and cultural identity, and it has become an iconic part of the All Blacks’ brand and reputation.
In addition to the haka, Maori cultural values such as manaakitanga (hospitality), whanaungatanga (family and community), and ngākau māhaki (bravery) have also played a significant role in shaping the New Zealand rugby culture. These values have helped to create a strong sense of identity and belonging among New Zealand rugby players and fans, and they have contributed to the development of a highly competitive and successful rugby nation.
Furthermore, the integration of Maori players into the national rugby team has been critical to the success of New Zealand rugby. Maori players have made up a significant proportion of the All Blacks squad since the team’s inception in 1903, and they have played a key role in the team’s on-field success. Maori players bring a unique set of skills and attributes to the team, including physicality, agility, and tactical intelligence, which have helped to establish New Zealand as a dominant force in world rugby.
Overall, the influence of Maori culture on rugby in New Zealand cannot be underestimated. The integration of Maori values, traditions, and players into the national rugby team has played a crucial role in the development of a highly successful and competitive rugby nation.
The Development of Rugby as a National Sport
New Zealand’s rugby dominance can be traced back to the development of the sport as a national pastime. Rugby has been a part of the country’s cultural fabric since the late 19th century, when British expatriates introduced the game to the country’s early settlers. The sport quickly gained popularity, and by the early 20th century, rugby was firmly established as the national sport of New Zealand.
One of the key factors in the development of rugby as a national sport was the formation of the New Zealand Rugby Football Union (NZRFU) in 1892. This organization was responsible for promoting and regulating the sport throughout the country, and it played a crucial role in fostering a sense of national identity through rugby.
The NZRFU’s efforts to promote rugby were aided by the fact that the sport was already popular among the country’s European population. Rugby was seen as a symbol of British cultural heritage, and it was played by many of the country’s elite. This meant that the sport had a strong social and cultural status, which helped to cement its place as the national sport.
Another important factor in the development of rugby as a national sport was the success of the New Zealand national team, known as the All Blacks. The All Blacks first toured overseas in 1905, and they quickly established themselves as one of the top rugby teams in the world. Their success on the field helped to generate a sense of national pride and excitement around the sport, and it helped to solidify rugby’s position as the national sport.
In addition to these factors, the development of rugby as a national sport was also aided by the growth of the sport at the grassroots level. Rugby clubs and schools throughout the country helped to foster a love of the sport among the country’s youth, and these players went on to become some of the most talented rugby players in the world.
Overall, the development of rugby as a national sport in New Zealand was a gradual process that was driven by a combination of social, cultural, and sporting factors. The sport’s deep roots in the country’s history and culture, combined with its success on the international stage, have helped to make it an integral part of New Zealand’s national identity.
The Success of New Zealand’s Rugby Teams
The All Blacks: The Best Rugby Team in the World?
A Legacy of Dominance
The All Blacks, New Zealand’s national rugby team, have been the epitome of success in the sport for decades. Since their first international match in 1903, they have amassed an impressive win-loss record and have consistently performed at the highest level. Their success can be attributed to a combination of factors, including their distinctive playing style, the strength of their domestic competition, and the depth of talent available to selectors.
A Unique Playing Style
The All Blacks are renowned for their dynamic and attacking style of play, which is commonly referred to as “All Black Magic.” This playing style emphasizes ball retention, rapid transitions, and an emphasis on offloading the ball in contact situations. The team’s focus on fitness and athleticism has allowed them to dominate the opposition in all aspects of the game, making them feared opponents for any team they face.
The Rich History of the All Blacks
The All Blacks have a rich history filled with legendary players, iconic moments, and memorable triumphs. Some of their most notable achievements include winning the inaugural Rugby World Cup in 1987, successfully defending the title in 2011, and winning the Rugby Championship, a tri-nation tournament also involving Australia and South Africa, on multiple occasions. The team’s ability to consistently perform at the highest level has earned them a reputation as the best rugby team in the world.
The Impact of Domestic Competition
The success of the All Blacks can also be attributed to the strength of their domestic competition. The New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) has fostered a highly competitive environment by promoting a strong club and provincial system. This structure provides a talent pool for the national team, ensuring that they have access to the best players and the ability to develop and nurture emerging talent. The intense rivalry between the country’s five Super Rugby franchises, which are affiliated with the NZRU, further adds to the competitiveness of the domestic game.
A Pipeline of Talent
New Zealand’s success in rugby is further fueled by the sheer number of talented players available to selectors. The country has a large rugby-playing population, with rugby being the national sport and enjoying widespread participation at all levels. This ensures a constant flow of talent through the ranks, from grassroots level to the national team. Additionally, the All Blacks’ focus on developing their players through a structured pathway, which includes age-grade representative teams and a well-established development squad, helps to nurture and hone the skills of emerging talent.
In conclusion, the All Blacks’ status as the best rugby team in the world is a result of their unique playing style, rich history, the strength of their domestic competition, and the pipeline of talent available to them. These factors have combined to create a formidable force in world rugby, making them a team to be reckoned with both on and off the field.
The Making of a Rugby Powerhouse
Rich Rugby Heritage and Culture
New Zealand’s dominance in rugby can be attributed to its rich rugby heritage and culture. Rugby has been ingrained in the country’s sporting fabric since the late 19th century, and it has since become a national pastime. The sport’s popularity is rooted in the nation’s history, as it was introduced by British settlers and has since evolved into a uniquely Kiwi experience.
Strong Development Systems and Player Pathways
New Zealand’s success is also a result of its robust development systems and player pathways. The country’s rugby structures cater to players of all ages and skill levels, from grassroots to elite levels. These pathways ensure that talented players are identified, nurtured, and provided with the necessary resources to reach their full potential.
Emphasis on Player Development and Skill Mastery
New Zealand places a strong emphasis on player development and skill mastery. The country’s coaching philosophy prioritizes developing well-rounded players who possess a strong understanding of the game’s fundamentals. This approach is evident in the All Blacks’ playing style, which is characterized by its precision, speed, and physicality.
High-Performance Environments and Support Systems
New Zealand’s success is further fueled by its high-performance environments and support systems. The country’s rugby organizations invest heavily in resources, technology, and expertise to ensure that its teams are always at the forefront of innovation and performance. This includes state-of-the-art training facilities, sports science programs, and expert coaching staff.
National and Regional Representative Systems
New Zealand’s national and regional representative systems play a crucial role in the country’s rugby dominance. The system is designed to provide players with ample opportunities to represent their region and progress through the ranks. This competitive environment fosters healthy rivalries and drives continuous improvement at all levels of the game.
Rugby’s Integration into Society and Daily Life
Finally, rugby’s integration into society and daily life in New Zealand has contributed to the country’s success. Rugby is not just a sport; it is a way of life. It brings people together, fosters a sense of community, and promotes the values of teamwork, resilience, and determination. These values are instilled in players from a young age and are reflected in the performances of New Zealand’s national teams.
The Role of Government Support and Funding
The government plays a significant role in the success of New Zealand’s rugby teams. They provide funding for various aspects of the sport, including training facilities, coaches, and equipment. This support allows the teams to focus on their performance and improve their skills, rather than worrying about financial constraints.
One of the main ways that the government supports rugby in New Zealand is through the High Performance Sport New Zealand (HPSNZ) organization. HPSNZ is responsible for managing the funding and support for high-performance athletes and teams across a range of sports, including rugby. They work closely with the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) to provide support for the national teams and other rugby organizations throughout the country.
In addition to funding, the government also provides support through other means. For example, they offer sports scholarships to promising young athletes, which help them to access the training and resources they need to develop their skills. They also provide support for community rugby programs, which help to promote the sport and encourage participation at all levels.
Overall, the government’s support and funding plays a crucial role in the success of New Zealand’s rugby teams. It allows them to access the resources they need to perform at the highest level, and helps to promote the sport throughout the country.
The Rugby-Playing Culture in New Zealand
The Importance of Rugby in New Zealand Society
Rugby is undoubtedly the most popular sport in New Zealand, and its importance in the country’s society cannot be overstated. It is a sport that has been deeply ingrained in the country’s culture and history, and it is a source of pride for many New Zealanders.
Here are some reasons why rugby is so important in New Zealand society:
- Historical Significance: Rugby has a long and storied history in New Zealand, dating back to the late 19th century. The first-ever rugby match in New Zealand was played in 1870, and since then, the sport has become an integral part of the country’s culture and heritage. Rugby has been a unifying force for the country, bringing people together regardless of their background or social status.
- National Pride: Rugby is a sport that inspires national pride in New Zealanders. The country’s national rugby team, the All Blacks, is considered to be one of the best rugby teams in the world, and their success on the international stage has been a source of national pride for many years. When the All Blacks win, it feels like a victory for the entire country.
- Community Building: Rugby is also a sport that fosters community building. Rugby clubs are often at the heart of their local communities, providing a sense of belonging and connection for players, coaches, and supporters. Rugby matches and tournaments bring people together, and they provide an opportunity for people to socialize and celebrate their love of the sport.
- Economic Impact: Finally, rugby has a significant economic impact on New Zealand. The sport generates millions of dollars in revenue each year, from ticket sales to merchandise sales to broadcasting rights. Rugby also creates jobs and provides opportunities for people to work in the sporting industry.
Overall, rugby is a sport that is deeply ingrained in New Zealand society, and its importance cannot be overstated. It is a source of national pride, community building, and economic impact, and it continues to be a vital part of the country’s culture and heritage.
The Development of Grassroots Rugby
The Development of Grassroots Rugby
New Zealand’s dominance in rugby can be attributed to the strong rugby-playing culture that has been cultivated in the country over the years. One of the key factors that has contributed to this culture is the development of grassroots rugby.
Grassroots rugby refers to the amateur level of rugby played at a community level. This level of rugby is where players first learn the basics of the game and develop their skills and passion for rugby. The development of grassroots rugby is crucial for the growth and success of rugby in any country, and New Zealand has been particularly successful in this area.
The Importance of Community Rugby
Community rugby is a vital component of the grassroots rugby development in New Zealand. This level of rugby is played in small towns and rural areas, where rugby is often the main sport. The emphasis on community rugby has helped to create a strong sense of community and tradition around the game.
In New Zealand, community rugby is supported by local rugby clubs, which provide opportunities for young players to learn and play the game. These clubs are often run by volunteers, who dedicate their time and resources to ensure that the game continues to thrive at a grassroots level.
The All Blacks as Role Models
Another important factor in the development of grassroots rugby in New Zealand is the success of the national team, the All Blacks. The All Blacks are widely regarded as the best rugby team in the world, and they have a huge following in New Zealand.
The All Blacks are not only successful on the field, but they are also seen as role models and ambassadors for the game. They are heavily involved in promoting rugby at a grassroots level, and they often visit local clubs and schools to inspire and encourage young players.
The Influence of Māori and Pacific Island Cultures
Finally, the development of grassroots rugby in New Zealand has been influenced by the Māori and Pacific Island cultures that are an integral part of the country’s identity. Rugby has a special significance in these cultures, and it has been embraced and adapted to reflect their unique traditions and values.
The inclusion of Māori and Pacific Island players in rugby teams has helped to create a more diverse and inclusive rugby culture in New Zealand. This has helped to attract more players to the game and has contributed to the success of rugby at all levels in the country.
The Rise of Women’s Rugby in New Zealand
New Zealand has a long-standing tradition of rugby, and it has become a significant part of the country’s culture. With its passion for the sport, it is no surprise that women’s rugby has also risen to prominence in New Zealand. In recent years, women’s rugby has seen a surge in popularity, with more and more women taking up the sport and participating at all levels.
One of the main reasons for the rise of women’s rugby in New Zealand is the increasing awareness and support for women’s sports. The government and various organizations have been working towards promoting and developing women’s sports, which has resulted in more funding and resources being made available for women’s rugby. This has enabled more women to participate in the sport and has also led to the development of better facilities and coaching.
Another factor contributing to the rise of women’s rugby in New Zealand is the success of the national team, the Black Ferns. The Black Ferns have a long history of success, having won the Women’s Rugby World Cup three times. Their success has inspired many young women to take up the sport and has also helped to raise the profile of women’s rugby in the country.
Furthermore, the growth of women’s rugby in New Zealand has also been driven by the development of programs and initiatives aimed at promoting and supporting the sport. For example, the “Give Rugby a Go” program has been instrumental in encouraging more women to try rugby and has helped to create a more inclusive and diverse rugby community.
Overall, the rise of women’s rugby in New Zealand is a testament to the country’s passion for the sport and its commitment to promoting and developing women’s sports. With more opportunities and support available for women’s rugby, it is likely that the sport will continue to grow and thrive in New Zealand.
The Importance of Coaching and Training
The New Zealand Rugby Coaching Philosophy
New Zealand’s rugby success can be attributed to their innovative coaching philosophy, which focuses on developing well-rounded players and emphasizing teamwork. The coaching philosophy encompasses several key principles:
- Long-term player development: The New Zealand Rugby (NZR) focuses on developing players from a young age through a structured pathway. This approach allows for a more comprehensive understanding of a player’s development, enabling coaches to identify and nurture talent effectively.
- High-performance culture: NZR fosters a culture of continuous improvement, where players are encouraged to push themselves beyond their limits. This culture promotes a strong work ethic and helps players develop mental and physical resilience, crucial qualities for success in rugby.
- Attention to detail: New Zealand coaches pay close attention to the finer aspects of the game, such as positioning, decision-making, and skill execution. This attention to detail translates into a more effective and efficient playing style, which can be challenging for opponents to counter.
- Emphasis on teamwork: New Zealand teams are renowned for their collective spirit and ability to work together. The coaching philosophy prioritizes teamwork, with players encouraged to support each other on and off the field. This approach leads to a strong sense of unity and accountability within the team, contributing to their overall success.
- Innovative coaching methods: New Zealand coaches are known for their willingness to adapt and innovate. They constantly seek new training methods and techniques to stay ahead of the competition, ensuring that their players are equipped with the latest skills and knowledge.
- Fostering a winning mentality: New Zealand teams are bred to win, with a strong focus on achieving success at all levels of the game. This mentality is instilled in players from a young age, and it serves as a driving force behind their dominance in rugby.
By adhering to these principles, the New Zealand Rugby coaching philosophy has helped to produce some of the most successful rugby teams in the world. This philosophy emphasizes the importance of developing well-rounded players, fostering a high-performance culture, and encouraging teamwork, all of which contribute to New Zealand’s dominance in the sport of rugby.
The Innovative Approach to Training
New Zealand’s success in rugby can be attributed to their innovative approach to training. They have been able to stay ahead of the game by adopting new technologies and methodologies that enhance the performance of their players. Here are some of the ways in which New Zealand’s training differs from that of other countries:
Fitness and Conditioning
New Zealand places a strong emphasis on fitness and conditioning. They believe that physical conditioning is the foundation upon which all other aspects of the game are built. As a result, they have developed a range of fitness programs that are specifically designed to improve the physical capabilities of their players. These programs include:
- High-intensity interval training (HIIT)
- Strength and conditioning exercises
- Yoga and Pilates
New Zealand also utilizes sports science to optimize the performance of their players. They use a range of technologies, such as GPS tracking and heart rate monitors, to collect data on player movements and physiological responses. This data is then used to develop individualized training programs that are tailored to the specific needs of each player.
Video analysis is another key component of New Zealand’s training regime. They use video technology to analyze the performance of their players, both individually and as a team. This allows them to identify areas for improvement and to develop strategies for enhancing performance.
Mental Skills Training
Finally, New Zealand places a strong emphasis on mental skills training. They believe that mental toughness is just as important as physical fitness, and they work with their players to develop the mental skills necessary to succeed at the highest level. This includes:
- Visualization techniques
- Mindfulness training
- Positive self-talk
Overall, New Zealand’s innovative approach to training has enabled them to develop some of the best rugby players in the world. By combining cutting-edge technology with age-old techniques, they have created a training program that is both effective and sustainable.
The Focus on Player Development
New Zealand’s success in rugby can be attributed to their emphasis on player development. The country has a well-structured system in place to identify and nurture rugby talent at a young age. This focus on player development has been instrumental in producing some of the best rugby players in the world.
Identifying Talent at a Young Age
New Zealand has a comprehensive talent identification system that starts at the grassroots level. Rugby is a popular sport in the country, and children are introduced to the game at a young age. Talented players are identified through school and club rugby, and they are given opportunities to develop their skills further.
New Zealand has several high-performance rugby academies that provide elite players with world-class coaching and facilities. These academies focus on developing the physical, technical, tactical, and mental aspects of the game. Players are exposed to a high-performance environment that helps them to reach their full potential.
Strength and Conditioning
New Zealand’s rugby players are known for their physicality and fitness levels. The country’s strength and conditioning programs are designed to develop players’ physical attributes, such as power, speed, and endurance. These programs are tailored to the specific needs of rugby players and help them to perform at their best on the field.
Coaching and Support Staff
New Zealand’s coaches and support staff play a crucial role in the development of rugby players. They provide guidance and mentorship to help players reach their goals. The country’s coaches are highly experienced and have a deep understanding of the game. They use advanced coaching techniques and analytics to help players improve their performance.
In summary, New Zealand’s focus on player development has been instrumental in their success in rugby. The country’s comprehensive talent identification system, high-performance academies, strength and conditioning programs, and expert coaching and support staff all contribute to the development of world-class rugby players.
The Future of Rugby in New Zealand
The Challenges Ahead
While New Zealand has dominated the world of rugby for several decades, there are several challenges that the country’s rugby community must overcome to maintain its dominance. These challenges include:
- The increasing popularity of other sports in New Zealand, such as rugby league and football, which are attracting more young players and threatening the popularity of rugby union.
- The growing competition from other rugby nations, particularly Australia and South Africa, which have also been investing heavily in their rugby programs and are producing top-level talent.
- The changing landscape of rugby itself, with the introduction of new rules and tactics that are making the game more complex and difficult to master.
- The increasing professionalism of the sport, which is leading to higher costs and more pressure on teams and players to perform at the highest level.
- The need to develop and retain top talent, as many young players are choosing to pursue careers overseas in more lucrative leagues such as the English Premiership and the French Top 14.
Despite these challenges, New Zealand’s rugby community remains confident in its ability to produce world-class players and compete at the highest level. The country’s rugby organizations are working hard to address these issues and ensure that rugby remains the dominant sport in New Zealand for years to come.
The Efforts to Maintain Dominance
New Zealand has been a dominant force in the world of rugby for many years, and they are continuing to make efforts to maintain their dominance in the sport. Here are some of the efforts that they are making:
Investment in Youth Development
One of the main efforts that New Zealand is making to maintain their dominance in rugby is by investing in youth development. They have set up various programs and initiatives to identify and develop young rugby players from a young age. These programs aim to provide young players with the necessary skills, knowledge, and experience to become successful rugby players in the future.
Strengthening Grassroots Rugby
Another effort that New Zealand is making to maintain their dominance in rugby is by strengthening grassroots rugby. They are investing in community-based rugby programs and initiatives that aim to promote and develop rugby at the grassroots level. This includes providing coaching and training opportunities for young players, as well as organizing local rugby tournaments and events.
Fostering a Winning Culture
New Zealand is also making efforts to foster a winning culture in rugby. They are promoting a culture of excellence and hard work, and they are encouraging young players to strive for success. This includes setting high standards for performance, as well as providing support and resources for players to achieve their goals.
Finally, New Zealand is utilizing technology to maintain their dominance in rugby. They are using advanced analytics and data analysis tools to gain insights into player performance, as well as to identify areas for improvement. This allows them to develop more effective training programs and strategies, and to stay ahead of the competition.
Overall, these efforts demonstrate New Zealand’s commitment to maintaining their dominance in rugby, and their focus on developing the next generation of rugby players.
The Importance of Adapting to Change
In order to maintain their dominance in the world of rugby, it is crucial that New Zealand continues to adapt to changes in the sport. This means not only staying up-to-date with rule changes and evolving tactics, but also embracing new technologies and training methods. By doing so, New Zealand can stay ahead of the curve and continue to produce top-level rugby players.
One key area where adaptation is crucial is in the realm of technology. Rugby is a fast-paced and highly competitive sport, and the use of technology can help teams gain an edge by providing insights into their performance and that of their opponents. For example, the use of motion analysis software can help coaches identify areas where players can improve their technique and reduce the risk of injury. Similarly, the use of wearable technology such as GPS trackers can provide valuable data on player fitness and performance levels.
Another important aspect of adaptation is the ability to evolve tactics and strategies. Rugby is a complex sport with many variables at play, and teams that are able to adapt their tactics to exploit the strengths of their opponents and neutralize their weaknesses are likely to be successful. This requires a deep understanding of the game, as well as the ability to analyze opponents and make tactical adjustments on the fly.
In addition to technological advancements and evolving tactics, it is also important for New Zealand to continue to prioritize player development. This means providing opportunities for young players to develop their skills and gain experience at all levels of the game, from grassroots to international competition. By doing so, New Zealand can ensure a steady stream of talented players to sustain their dominance in the sport.
Overall, the ability to adapt to change is crucial for the future success of rugby in New Zealand. By embracing new technologies, evolving tactics, and prioritizing player development, New Zealand can continue to produce top-level rugby players and maintain their dominance in the sport.
1. What is the history of rugby in New Zealand?
New Zealand has a long and rich history with rugby, with the first game being played in 1870. The sport quickly gained popularity and by the early 1900s, New Zealand had established itself as a major force in the world of rugby. The country’s success in the sport can be attributed to a number of factors, including a strong rugby culture, a focus on developing young talent, and a commitment to innovation and continuous improvement.
2. What are some of the factors that contribute to New Zealand’s success in rugby?
There are several factors that contribute to New Zealand’s success in rugby. One of the most important is the country’s strong rugby culture, which is deeply ingrained in the national psyche. New Zealanders are passionate about rugby and it is a sport that is played at all levels, from grassroots to elite. The country also has a well-established rugby infrastructure, with a network of clubs, schools, and development pathways that help to identify and nurture young talent.
Another key factor is the emphasis that New Zealand places on developing young players. The country has a highly competitive domestic rugby scene, with many talented players emerging from local clubs and schools. These players are then given the opportunity to progress through the ranks, with a focus on continuous improvement and innovation at every stage.
3. How has New Zealand’s rugby success evolved over time?
New Zealand’s rugby success has evolved over time, with the country achieving notable success in the early 1900s before going through periods of relative struggles. However, in recent decades, New Zealand has once again established itself as a dominant force in the world of rugby, winning a number of major tournaments and competitions.
The All Blacks, New Zealand’s national rugby team, are one of the most successful teams in the history of the sport, having won the Rugby World Cup three times and the British and Irish Lions tour twice. In addition, New Zealand has also been successful at the regional level, winning the Rugby Championship (formerly known as the Tri-Nations) on several occasions.
4. What is the All Blacks’ secret to success?
The All Blacks’ success can be attributed to a number of factors, including a strong team culture, a focus on developing young talent, and a commitment to innovation and continuous improvement. The team is known for its high-performance culture, which emphasizes discipline, hard work, and a strong team ethos.
In addition, the All Blacks have a well-established system for identifying and developing young talent, with a focus on player development at all levels of the game. This includes a comprehensive talent identification and development program, as well as a strong domestic rugby scene that provides a platform for young players to showcase their skills.
The All Blacks are also known for their innovative approach to the game, with a focus on continually evolving and improving their tactics and strategies. This has helped the team to stay ahead of the curve and maintain its position as one of the world’s top rugby nations.