Author(s): Tom Johnson
In the world of rugby, the All Blacks have an unsurpassed legacy of success. We are the best of the best.
Legends in Black comprises frank, no-holds-barred interviews with New Zealand rugby greats, each sharing their thoughts on every aspect of what it means to be an All Black: first selection, the haka, international and provincial rugby, professionalism, team culture, camaraderie, technical advances, coaching and leadership.
A one-of-a-kind account of New Zealand rugby, Legends in Black draws on unprecedented access to some of the biggest names in the game - revealing the secrets to why we win.
'The winning ethos was so fundamental to the culture and had been ingrained for years, and it just keeps going. The wonderful thing about the All Blacks is the tradition of its history, the belief by players in what happened before. Winning was something that was an absolute focus.'
- John Hart
'Leadership is within the team. I had a role as a fixer, if there was trouble going on - not a dirty role, but as the one able to talk to the opposition and tell them, 'I wouldn't do that again, if I were you.'''
- Colin Meads
'Winning becomes a habit, because success is fantastic, but when you take those platitudes you've also got to learn how to lose, lose well and graciously, and learn from your losses.'
- Wayne 'Buck' Shelford
'It was about working out who you played the game for . . . it's not the name of the team or the colour of the jersey, but the people around you.'
- Andy Haden
Also available as an eBook
Dr Tom Johnson, 75, and recently retired, played for Hawke's Bay and was an All Blacks trialist, a leading loose forward at provincial level in the 1960s. He chaired the Hawke's Bay Rugby Union in 1972 and, upon transfer to Wellington with Europa Oil, served on the council of the New Zealand Rugby Football Union (NZRFU - renamed the New Zealand Rugby Union, NZRU, in 2006) from 1973 to 1986. Tom drove a number of coaching and development initiatives that helped New Zealand maintain a pre-eminent position in the global game, leading to arguably his most important role: writing the original position paper on the need for a Rugby World Cup. At one stage, it was out-voted 17-1. However, a year later, he overcame the opposition to achieve unanimous support. Today, Tom lives in Napier.