The 'All Golds'
Rugby league in New Zealand grew out of the original rugby union All Blacks tour of Britain in 1905-6. Some of the touring New Zealanders watched the league, were impressed with the new game and became converts.
One of these All Blacks, a fleet-footed winger named George Smith, returned home and quickly teamed up with keen young sportsman and budding entrepreneur Albert Baskerville, to form New Zealand's first rugby league side. Including many former All Blacks and dubbed the 'All Golds' because of its semi-professionalism, the team embarked on a tour of Britain in 1907-8 without having played a single game in New Zealand.
The tour was a success. The All Golds won 19 of their 35 games including the test series against Great Britain which was won 2 - 1. On the way home the All Golds also captured two of three tests against Australia. On their return, the All Golds made up most of the two teams that squared off in what was the first league match ever held in this country. It took place in Wellington on 13 June 1908 before a crowd of around 7,000. The name All Golds has long been consigned to history but today's 'Kiwis' continue the tradition begun in the early 1900's.