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All Blacks march into Rugby World Cup with darkest look yet

Traditionalists and fashionistas both had cause to celebrate when the All Blacks emerged for their first match of the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Banishing the multi-coloured array of neon boots that have taken the edge of the New Zealander’s menacing look in recent seasons, Richie McCaw’s team wore completely black boots.

Combined with the recent greying of their crest and the hoops on their socks, New Zealand have never looked so dark.

As expected, Twitter was quick on the uptake and praise was almost universal.

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Former England World Cup winning coach Clive Woodward said New Zealand set the standard for team culture.

History of black

Whilst New Zealand have always worn black, their name is thought to actually come from a corruption of a journalist’s comment that the team, during their inaugural tour of 1905, played like they were ‘all backs’.

For most of the 20th century New Zealand’s kit had a white collar and the socks were topped by white hoops – usually two. Adidas have slowly blackened the kit in the last two decades, most often by removing the white collar. Much to the annoyance of the staunchest of traditionalists, Adidas changed the two-hoop sock pattern to three hoops – thereby fitting in with their brand image.

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The creep of neon boots into the side by several players in recent years had spolit the image of the All Blacks for many. So the return to old-fashioned boots is sure to delight legions of old-school fans.

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As well as the slick new black look, New Zealand also unveiled a new haka ‘arrow’ formation for the World Cup.

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Whatever happens in the rest of the tournament, nobody is going to look quite as sharp as the Kiwis.

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