The foundation for the French national rugby team was laid on this day in rugby history when the Equipe de France faced the All Blacks on a cold and rainy at the Stade Colombes in Paris in 1906.
It was a humbling experience as the home side were on the wrong side of an 8-38 loss but it was an important beginning of a truly national French rugby team. The Equipe de France took the best players from Stade Français, Racing Club de France, Stade Bordelais, F.C. Lyon, S.O.E. Toulouse, Havre A.C. unlike previous tour teams that faced French sides primarily composed of player from Paris only.
The mix of players, many who had never played together or against each other before, resulted in sloppy play at times but the hope was on the future.
The game was part of New Zealand’s first tour outside of the Australasia and included stops in the British Isles, France as well as the U.S. This is the tour where the New Zealand side, sometimes referred to as the ‘Originals,’ picked up the All Blacks moniker.
There are two stories of how the name was given to the side; One story is that a London newspaper had a typographical error and printed that New Zealand side played like ‘all blacks’ rather than as ‘all backs.’ The other story is that the Express and Echo in Devon reported that ‘The All Blacks, as they are styled by reason of their sable and unrelieved costume.’
Regardless, one of the all time great teams and nicknames was born on the 1905 New Zealand All Blacks tour.
1950 - Wayne Bennett, Australian rugby league coach
1961 - Sam Backo, Australian rugby league footballer