This article appeared in the sports section of the Telegraph on a theme covered by our Rusters whilst in Japan – New Zealand – a sporting behemoth
It made me think of other countries that one would not historically link with sporting achievement.
This seems to go in waves. Austria can boast tennis player Dominic Thiem and golfer Bern Wiesberger, Belgium Eden Hazard, Kevin de Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku.
The UK has its sporting legacies and traditions but more recently produced Rory McIlroy, Chris Froome, Andy Murray, Lewis Hamilton – all at the peak of their sport – and a slew of athletes like Mo Farah.
Conversely a great sporting nation like Australia has not won or produced much this past decade.
The unique quality about the All Blacks is that they have dominated their sport forever it seems.
In sending the article to Wayne Smith, he attributed this to national hardiness, an outdoor rural culture and, more perversely, when they were were born at the start of the year which affects their age grades.
Personally I put it down to a rigorous demand for excellence.
The West Indies have dominated cricket, so have Australia, and Germany in football but not over such a lengthy period as the All Blacks.