The 1905 Tour
When the 1905 tour of Britain began on 16 September, the players were referred to as the New Zealand Football Team or, more simply, the New Zealanders, though occasionally terms such as “Maorilanders” and “Colonials” did service. When, however, the Hartlepool game of 11 October was reported in the Daily Mail by Buttery, there appears for the first time a reference to “All Black” play and its complement, “All Black Cameraderie”. From then on the new name gradually won acceptance, so much so that by early November, following the match with Surrey (1 November), the Daily Mail made direct mention of the All Black team “that everybody is talking about”.
It is also interesting to note that on 15 November 1905 the term “Blacks” had even appeared in the pages of Punch which printed a number of stanzas dealing with the shortcomings of Seddon, the last running as follows:
Can it be your head is turned
By your team of Rugby “Blacks”?
Has the glory they have earned
Set you trotting in their tracks?
Well, it's not mere weight and gristle,
You must also play the game,
Or the referee may whistle
And you'll have yourself to blame
If you get a free kick where you don't expect the same.
Although the new name “caught on” so quickly in Britain, its acceptance in New Zealand was much slower. Seddon, for instance, with that political opportunism which both irritated and amused his opponents, followed up each victory with congratulatory cablegrams addressed to “the colony's football team” (mid-October) or “the New Zealand football team” (4 December). The newspapers were equally tardy in adopting the term but by 21 November the New Zealand Herald referred to the “Triumphal March of the Blacks”. A few weeks later (6 December) it headed a column “ ‘All Black’ Gossip”; editorially, however, it always used the more formal term, “New Zealand Footballers”. Thus on 5 March 1906, the day of the team's arrival at Auckland, the Herald editorially acclaimed the “New Zealand Footballers”, but on the following day it headed its report of the official function of welcome with a bold double-column caption “Return of the All Blacks”. Meanwhile, throughout the country special shop window displays and feature advertisements “to mark the return of the All Blacks” suddenly appeared. The “All Blacks” had indeed arrived.