The Haka displays strength - and also terrifies opponents.
The Haka displays strength - and also terrifies opponents.

Seven Things That Make The New Zealand All Blacks Different

Nathan Baugh

The New Zealand All Blacks are the most successful sports team ever. They’ve won 2 of the last 3 World Cups, were ranked #1 for 98% of the last decade, and have a 77% all-time winning percentage. Here’s what makes them different.

Sweep the Shed. The team's cultural mantra of "Sweeping the Shed” says no individual is bigger than the team. Everyone is responsible for the smallest details. Team captains stay after games to clean the locker room. Why? Because small things become big things.

National Pride. The team played its first match in 1903 when New Zealand was a British colony. They beat England. The coach said: “It showed the world we could be successful. We could beat the mother country, England.” Rugby proved to New Zealanders they could be independent.

Rugby is the most popular sport in New Zealand. That’s not an accident. Each time a new All Blacks roster is announced, the players go on tour. They interact with fans, specifically kids, to drum up support. The best young athletes in the country want to play rugby.

Focus & Simplicity. Before matches, All Blacks coaches ask players for 3 things they want to focus on. It’s the Pareto Principle — instead of focusing on everything, focus on the 20% that will drive 80% of the results.

Humble yet Proud. Similar to “sweep the shed”, the All Blacks handle their own gear and luggage. Here’s a photo of them unpacking 3 tons of their own gear to check in at the Rome airport.

The All Blacks unload their own gear and luggage.
The All Blacks unload their own gear and luggage.

Expectation. Expect excellence, nothing less. It’s the Pygmalion Effect — having high expectations for someone delivers higher achievement. “We’re expected to win test matches by big margins, and we believe that pressure gives us an advantage.”

Haka. Before each match, the All Blacks perform the Haka. The Haka is a display of a tribe's pride, strength and unity. It also terrifies opponents — take a look at the French here:

New Zealand has a population of just 4.5 million. Yet it dominates one of the world’s most popular sports. The All Blacks 77% winning percentage is the best of any top flight team in any sport in the world.