The Schools That Produce The Most All Blacks

Date IconLast Updated: 19 Dec 2023
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The Schools That Produce The Most All Blacks
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They call it ‘the cradle of rugby’ – the New Zealand secondary school system that produces All Blacks with long-held and proud efficiency. 

Test players have come from high schools around the country for the last 139 years, but what can been read into that? 

Is there a school that produces better All Blacks than others? What about recent events that have changed the traditional power balance between state and private schools? 

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Then there’s the thorny issue of scholarships and exactly how much young players are benefiting from them. 

Here's a look at the top All Black producing schools:

NZ Schools With Most All Blacks Internationals

Rank SchoolAll Black CountPublic/Private?Competition
1Auckland Grammar School51State IntegratedAuckland 1A
2Christchurch Boys’ High School44State IntegratedMiles Toyota Championship
3Wellington College35State IntegratedWellington First XV Premiership
4New Plymouth Boys High School25State IntegratedSuper Eight
T5Nelson College22State IntegratedMiles Toyota Championship
T5Southland Boys High School22State IntegratedOtago Schools Rugby Championship
6Christ’s College21PrivateMiles Toyota Championship
7Otago Boys’ High School19State IntegratedOtago Schools Rugby Championship

Auckland Grammar School

  • All Blacks: 51
  • State integrated
  • Competition: Auckland 1A

AGS has a long history of being a breeding ground for All Blacks, with the first three picked in 1893. 

They also can boast the highest try-scorer, with Doug Howlett scoring 49 in 62 tests between 2000-2007. 

Grant Fox was the highest All Black test points scorer with 645 until he was overtaken by Andrew Mehrtens, while Gary and AJ Whetton are the only twin brothers to have played for the All Blacks. 

The school has won the local competition an incredible 61 times in its history and has one current All Black in Rieko Ioane.

Christchurch Boys’ High School

  • All Blacks: 44
  • State integrated
  • Competition: Miles Toyota Championship

Mention CBHS and everyone’s minds go to one place: the seeming conveyer belt the school has for fly halves. 

Their most famous, Dan Carter, is the holder of the world record for points scored in tests with 1598. 

He broke the All Black record held by Mehrtens, who played 70 tests. CHBS are currently well represented in the current All Black side by centurion Brodie Retallick and Anton Lienert-Brown, who both have made their names playing for the Chiefs, as well as Will Jordan

The fullback is currently scoring at an incredible one try per test in 21 appearances.

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Wellington College

  • All Blacks: 35
  • State integrated
  • Competition: Wellington First XV Premiership

It’s no surprise that the highest producing All Black schools come from New Zealand’s biggest population centres, and WC is no exception. 

However, the school has shifted its attitude towards rugby in recent years, with a once powerful First XV programme reduced in scope due to the reluctance to enter a talent ‘arms race’ with local rivals St Pats and Scots College. 

That’s part of why WC hasn’t produced an All Black since Lima Sopoaga in 2017, with many of their most notable test players coming from decades past. 

The most notable would be Ken Gray, regarded as the best prop in the world in the All Black side of the mid to late 60s.

New Plymouth Boys High School

  • All Blacks: 25
  • State integrated
  • Competition: Super Eight

Coming out of arguably the most competitive First XV competition in the country, NPBHS is a perennial challenger for the national title. 

However, like WC, they haven’t had another jersey to hang on the wall for a while now with former All Black captain Reuben Thorne their last in 2007.

Thorne is not the only skipper to come out of NBHS, with Graham Mourie an old boy as well. 

However, the school in the region with the most recent number of All Blacks is massive rival Francis Douglas Memorial College from across town – their total of six is bolstered by producing all three Barrett brothers.

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Nelson College

  • All Blacks: 22
  • State integrated
  • Competition: Miles Toyota Championship

So, here’s where things get interesting. Nelson is a town with a population around 53,000 and while the school has the distinction of being involved in what is regarded as the first ever rugby game in New Zealand, by 2009 they hadn’t produced an All Black since 1973. 

Since then, there’s been five more, plus 11 current Super Rugby players. The change? Nelson College moved into the expanded Christchurch competition, which involved some long away trips but has made the school a powerhouse through investment in its rugby programme and close links to the Crusaders set up.

Southland Boys High School

  • All Blacks: 22
  • State integrated
  • Competition: Otago Schools Rugby Championship

Along with Nelson College, SBHS are punching above their weight considering the lower catchment population. 

While they haven’t had an All Black in over a decade, the class of 2023 may well see that change as the school has experienced a highly promising season that saw them knock over Auckland Grammar and King’s College in pre-season. 

They can claim one unique bit of history: old boy Paul Henderson is the most successful All Black captain of all time, leading the side in 1995 to a test win over Japan with a winning margin of 128 points.

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Christ’s College

  • All Blacks: 21
  • Private
  • Competition: Miles Toyota Championship

Canterbury rugby royalty flows through Christ’s College, with their most prolific old boy being former All Black and Wallaby coach Robbie Deans

Right now, Damian McKenzie is their most high-profile success story, but Christ’s can also boast a link to the first ever All Black side with Edward and William Milton being the first set of brothers to represent the country in that side. 

Christ’s have a well-known and bitter rivalry with CBHS, which often overshadows anything else they achieve on the field, but being a smaller, private school has often hampered their ability to win their local competition.

Otago Boys’ High School

  • All Blacks: 19
  • State integrated
  • Competition: Otago Schools Rugby Championship

OBHS haven’t had an All Black for a while, but whoever follows the great Richie McCaw has massive boots to fill. 

The 148 test, two-time World Cup winning skipper shifted south to OHBS’s boarding facility from his hometown of Kurow, before taking his talents to Canterbury after he left school. 

The rest is history. OBHS have been the traditional winners of the regional competition, which has changed shape in recent years by absorbing SBHS and providing them with regular rivals.

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Special Mentions

Wellington’s Rongotai College, who have perhaps the highest quality of its recent All Blacks. Both Savea brothers and Ma’a Nonu are old boys, having scored a combined 97 tries between them in 228 tests.

St Kentigern College in Auckland, the most exclusive private school in the country, has 10 All Blacks. 

Nine of them have been capped since 2005, showing just how much investment the school has put into its First XV programme in that time. 

However, St Kent’s has been embroiled in controversy in recent years over the issue of offering scholarships to promising players from lower-decile schools, resulting in them being suspended from the 1A competition for a season.

Te Kuiti High School produced the greatest All Black ever in Sir Colin Meads. However he left as soon as he could at the age of 15, with the headmaster reportedly saying at the time that “the arrangement would be best for everyone”.