The All Blacks, New Zealand’s national rugby union team, has been awarded Spain’s prestigious Princess of Asturias Prize in the sports category. The three-time world champions were the runners-up for the award last year, when they were defeated by the Spanish triathlete Javier Gómez Noya.
“It’s a great honour to have the All Blacks recognised with the prestigious Princess of Asturias Award. The team are humbled by the award and grateful to the Foundation and fans around the world for their incredible support,” said Steve Tew, the CEO of New Zealand Rugby, in a statement.
The New Zealand side can boast about “an extremely high winning percentage that places it among the most successful teams in any sport,” said the jury chair, former athlete Abel Antón, at a short press conference in Oviedo, Asturias.
The team are humbled by the award and grateful to the Foundation and fans around the world for their incredible support
Steve Tew, CEO New Zealand Rugby
With a winning percentage of 77.1%, the All Blacks are the current Rugby World Cup champions. They have been selected best team of the year seven times since 2005. Four of its members have been Best Player of the Year – Richie McCaw, Dan Carter, Kieran Read and Brodie Retallick – and 15 players have been inducted into the Rugby Hall of Fame.
“Furthermore, this team is considered an example of racial and cultural integration that has contributed to the unity of New Zealanders of different origin, symbolized in the haka, a Maori tribal dance that provides a link to their roots and ancestral heritage,” said the jury.
Formerly known as the Prince of Asturias Awards, the 37-year-old prize’s name was changed after Crown Prince Felipe became the king of Spain in June 2014, passing the heir title on to his eldest daughter Leonor.
Past winners of Spain’s answer to the Nobel Prize, in categories ranging from literature to medicine, include the writer Paul Auster, film director Francis Ford Coppola, architect Frank Gehry, NBA basketball-playing brothers Pau and Marc Gasol, and the photographer Annie Leibovitz.
The 37th Princess of Asturias award ceremony will take place in the fall in the Asturian city of Oviedo.
English version by Susana Urra.