The New Zealand Rugby Union team's kit is so well known a description of it has became their nickname - the All Blacks. Certainly, every rugby-playing nation who have gone up against them has endured a dark sense of forboding, followed by a heavy defeat. An 1884 trip to Australia was the first overseas rugby tour for the All Blacks and the team sported a very different look. They wore a dark blue top, with gold fern on the left of the shirt. In 1893 the NZRU decided at their annual general meeting that the kit should be a black jersey with a silver fern and white shorts.
In 1901 the team faced New South Wales in a black top with no collar, and a silver fern on it. The black was there to stay and, along with the pre-match Haka, make the team the most recognisable rugby outfit on the planet. In recent years New Zealand have worn a poppy on their sleeve when playing France to honour the soldiers who died on the battlefields of Europe during the two World Wars. "We want to honour the overseas service of New Zealanders. It is an important part of our history as a country and a team," said forward Richie McCaw.
And their monicker has also rubbed off on other teams. The New Zealand cricket team are the Black Caps, the hockey team are the Black Sticks and the basketball are the Tall Blacks.