New Zealand is arguably the greatest rugby nation the world has ever seen, but who are the players that have defeated them the most?
Few rugby fans would argue against New Zealand being labelled the greatest rugby nation in the world. Going beyond their three World Cup titles and back-to-back wins in 2011 and 2015, the All Blacks have played 541 tests, winning 416 of those and drawing 19.
That means New Zealand has won 77% of its tests, an astonishing figure.
This writer has decided to put together two teams that include the players that have defeated the All Blacks the most. The first team, to be found in this article, is made up of southern hemisphere players. The second is made up of northern hemisphere players.
The logic behind this is because individuals from Australia and South Africa have tended to have faced New Zealand an awful lot more than the northern hemisphere sides, due to geographical and logistical reasons. Therefore, it seemed to make little sense to put the two together.
Without further ado, here is first of the two sides.
The Southern Hemisphere ‘Conquering The All Blacks’ XV
1) Tony Daly – 6 wins (50%)
Daly played 41 times for the Wallabies and in that time managed to win six of the twelve matches he played against the All Blacks. One of those victories came at the 1991 Rugby World Cup semi-final – a tournament in which Australia went on to win their first William Webb Ellis trophy.
2) Phil Kearns – 10 wins (56%)
Phil Kearns is the man who kept Eddie Jones out of the Australian team and given his international record, it’s not hard to see why. Only two players in rugby history have won more games against the All Blacks than Kearns, and you will find both in this team.
3) Ewen McKenzie – 6 wins (46%)
Despite a disappointing time in charge of the Wallabies in a coaching capacity, tighthead McKenzie won six matches against the All Blacks and was part of the Australia side that won in windy Wellington in 1990.
4) John Eales – 11 wins (55%)
One of the true legends of the game and arguably Australia’s greatest ever player, Eales won an astonishing eleven matches against New Zealand, including victories in Christchurch, Wellington and Dunedin.
5) Victor Matfield – 9 wins (33%)
South Africa’s talismanic second row won nine matches against the men in black, but in total played 27 matches against New Zealand, meaning his success rate is the lowest in the side. Whilst most of his victories came in South Africa, he also won in Dunedin and Hamilton.
6) Matt Cockbain – 8 wins (73%)
Australia’s flanker has one of the most impressive records in world rugby history against the All Blacks. In eleven tests he won eight, including victories in Christchurch and Dunedin. Four of his wins came in the same Australian city: Sydney.
7) David Wilson – 8 wins (47%)
Yet another Wallaby in the side, but in Wilson’s 79-cap career he played New Zealand seventeen times and won eight of those, including wins in Christchurch and Wellington.
8) Toutai Kefu – 8 wins (62%)
In a career spanning 60 caps, Toutai Kefu played New Zealand thirteen times and won eight, an excellent record. His wins in New Zealand included Christchurch, Wellington and Dunedin.
9) George Gregan – 12 wins (44%)
No other player in rugby history has won as many games against the All Blacks as George Gregan – he truly is their arch-nemesis. One of the greatest moments in Gregan’s career and one of the worst in New Zealand’s history is his try-saving tackle on winger Jeff Wilson in 1994. You can watch it here:
10) Stephen Larkham – 10 wins (45%)
Like Gregan, Stephen Larkham was an integral part of the Eddie Jones-led Wallabies team that shocked the rugby globe by sending favourites New Zealand out of the 2003 Rugby World Cup at the semi-final stage. In a career that covered over 100 caps, Larkham won a fantastic ten victories against the All Blacks.
11) David Campese – 10 wins, 1 draw (36%)
David Campese is one of the few Australian players to have won in Auckland, but he also helped the Wallabies to knock out the All Blacks in the semi-finals of the 1991 World Cup. Moreover, he scored eight of his 64 international tries against New Zealand.
12) Jean de Villiers – 9 wins (53%) / Tim Horan – 9 wins (43%)
Both South Africa’s De Villiers and Australia’s Tim Horan have nine wins against the All Blacks, although the Springbok’s win percentage is superior.
13) Jason Little – 9 wins (53%)
A key cog in Australia’s 1991 Rugby World Cup tournament victory, Little defeated the All Blacks nine times in his career, including victories in both Christchurch and Wellington.
14) Bryan Habana – 8 wins (35%)
The only individual in the side to still be an active player (as long as Victor Matfield stays retired this time), Habana is one of South Africa’s greatest ever players. In 23 games against New Zealand, he has scored seven tries and gained an impressive eight wins.
15) Matt Burke – 8 wins (47%)
We finish with yet another Australian in genuine rugby legend Matt Burke. In 17 games, he won eight matches and in his final appearance against the All Blacks won in Sydney 23-18.
Stay tuned for part two when we look at the most victorious players from the other hemisphere.
Paul Wassell, Pundit Arena
Read More About: All Blacks, Australia, bryan habana, David Campese, david wilson, eddie jones, ewen mckenzie, george gregan, international rugby, jason little, jean de villiers, John Eales, matt burke, matt cockbain, new zealand, phil kearns, rugby world cup, south africa, southern hemisphere, stephen larkham, Tim horan, tony daly, Top Story, toutai kefu, victor matfield