Tuesday, December 5, 2006

NZ Greatest Men's Sports Team

I admit that the lists on the previous days are marginal in that there have been some great sportsmen and women who were a part of teams and probably deserve to be a part of the lists. So what about NZ's greatest male sports teams. Here is a list of possibilities.

There have been a number of great rugby teams
1. The 1905 All Blacks (One controversial loss on a tour of Britain)
2. The 1924 All Blacks (Unbeaten in Britain but didn't play Scotland)
3. The 1956 All Blacks (Beat South Africa for the first time in NZ)
4. The 1965-69 All Blacks (Beat South Africa, Lions (4-0), unbeaten on British tour etc)
5. The 1977-78 All Blacks (Beat Lions, First NZ Grand Slam in Britain)
5. The 1987-89 All Blacks (Won the World Cup; unbeaten for three years)
6. The 1996-98 All Blacks (First Series Win in South Africa; Tri-Nations)
7. The 2005-2006 All Blacks (Tri-Nations both years; Grand Slam of Britain; Unbeaten 2007 tour) (But will they win the Rugby World Cup?)

There are a few cricket teams that deserve a mention
1. 1980 (Beat great West Indian Cricket Team)
2. 1985-86 (Beat Pakistan at home; beat Australia away and at home in a test series; beat England for first time in an away series).
3. 2000 (Won ICC trophy)

Other great achievements of NZ Sport's Teams
1. 1971-72 NZ 8's (Winner Gold Medal 1972 Olympics)
2. 1976 NZ Hockey Team (Winner Gold Medal 1976 Olympics)
3. 1982 NZ Soccer Team (Qualified for Soccer World Cup)
4. 1996 Men's softball team world champs
5. 2000 Men's softball team world champs
6. 2004 Men's softball team world champs
7. 1995 America's Cup Team Winners
8. 2000 America's Cup Team Winners
9. 1992 Eisenhower Trophy Golf Winners
10. 2000 Basketball Team (4th at World Champs)
11. 2005 Tri-Nations League Team Winner

Double's teams like Ferguson and MacDonald in Kayaking, the Evers-Swindell sisters could also get a mention but I chose to treat them as individuals rather than a team because they are pairs.

To be a finalist, the team had to have won meaning the soccer and basketball teams miss out. So my finalists are:
1. 1987 Rugby World Cup winners (we now know how hard this is to win. That was a great team).
2. 1985 Cricket Team: they were sensational beating Australia and England for the first time on their home patches.
3. 1972 Rowing 8's: it is not easy to win the 8's at the Olympics. This was the time when the eastern Europeans were at their steroid boosted best!
4. 1995 America's Cup Team who won the America's Cup in the US
5. 2000 America's Cup Team who defended the Old Mug in NZ
6. 1976 Hockey Olympic Gold medalists (like the rugby world cup, this is not easy to win)

I have not made the softballers finalists because of the limited numbers of teams and that baseball is the male version in many nations.

Top 3.
This is based on the international dimension (how widely played) and the level of performance. None of these sports are truly global in the way that soccer or athletics is. America's Cup is elitist. Rowing is limited to the western world. Rugby is not global and limited to a few nations as is cricket. Hockey is more global perhaps including Asian nations. So it is not easy. Weighing it up in a totally subjective way my top three is.
1. America's Cup Victories
2. Rowing 8's
3. Hockey World Cup

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