Oval Talk

Precious Kiwis need all-black history lesson

Oval Talk

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Whoever came up with the idea of an all-black England second kit must have a large smile permanently etched upon their face.

The plan has worked perfectly: the mind games are in full swing with the World Cup now just five weeks away.

There have been plenty of Kiwi complaints this week, largely from UK-based sycophants who cannot believe the level of 'disrespect'.

When did this turn into the fourth chapter of The Godfather, exactly? Why shouldn't England play in black? New Zealand do not possess any pre-ordained right to the colour.

New Zealand's Prime Minister, John Key, disagrees - and weighed into the debate by claiming England are a "bunch of wannabes".

Key added: "There's only one team that wears black with pride, and that's the All Blacks."

Now that isn't strictly true - but before we have a bit of a history lesson, let's look at what New Zealand legend Jonah Lomu has had to say.

He said: "I find it really weird. When I saw the picture, I was just saying, 'one thing is for sure, the All Blacks are the original and anybody who is after the original is an imitator.'

"England don't need to do that, they don't need to wear it. They are synonymous with wearing white... we have always known them in the white shirt and it's a huge step in a different direction from the history they have had."

If it's strictly an issue of tradition then New Zealand should be playing in dark blue - for that was the colour the 'All Blacks' played in until 1893.

What's more, the only team with a true claim of being the authentic All Blacks reside in South Wales. Oval Talk discovered this while living in Cardiff a couple of years ago.

Perhaps Lomu and Key should pay a trip to Neath, the oldest club in Wales. They were formed in 1871 and played in a dark strip with a Maltese Cross on the left breast before switching to an all-black strip in 1880, a good 13 years prior to New Zealand.

They made the switch as a mark of respect to one of their players, Dick Gordon, who died from injuries he sustained on the rugby pitch.

Lesson over - it just goes to emphasise how precious some New Zealanders have been about this.

It also seems to have escaped some people's memories that New Zealand have worn a white kit on many occasions, including against France a couple of years ago.

This is something pointed out by none other than New Zealand's captain Richie McCaw.

"Two years ago we played in France in a white jersey and put in a good performance," McCaw said.

"If it comes down to what colour you wear determines how you play, then we've got trouble I reckon. What will be will be. It would be nice to be in black, but if we're not you just get on with it."

And that's the answer every New Zealander should be giving. If the New Zealand team really worried about every little thing like this, they would never win anything.

Yes, it is a bit cheeky by England - but the response from some New Zealanders is what OT likes to call ignorantly arrogant.

If New Zealand finally won the World Cup again while wearing tangerine, no one would care because ultimately success is more important than a distorted tradition.

See the new kit in the video below

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