1991 Rugby World Cup

William Webb Ellis is said to have started it all at Rugby School in England when, in 1823, on the spur of the moment, he picked up the ball and ran with it. With that deviation from the existing rules of football, a completely new game may have been born. Whether this was the real beginning of the game of rugby as we know it today or not, the occasion will continue to be talked of whenever the annals of the game are discussed. The sport's premier international trophy, the Rugby World Cup, carries his name.

Issue information

In 1870, rugby was introduced to New Zealand by Charles J Monro who, having observed the game while completing his secondary education in England, returned to his Nelson home and persuaded the Nelson Football Club to take up this exciting new sport. Within two decades rugby had spread the length and breadth of New Zealand. In 1882, a team from New South Wales, Australia, was the first international side to tour this country, and the first British team arrived in 1888.

The New Zealand team to tour the United Kingdom in 1905 resplendently uniformed in the now famous black jersey and silver fern, were the first team to be named, the All Blacks. In the intervening decades, a procession of teams have taken to the field in rugby playing countries all over the world.

The exploits of these teams have been the subject of almost unending study, discussion, argument and opinion - as would be expected considering that rugby is now part of every New Zealand community with followers and players from every walk of life.

To commemorate New Zealand's defence of the 1991 Rugby World Cup competition inaugurated in 1987 and contested by 16 nations, New Zealand Post produced this special stamp issue. Wellington designer, Allan Mitchell, depicted four aspects of the game in New Zealand - Children's Rugby, Women's Rugby, Senior Rugby and the All Blacks.

Miniature Sheet

Incorporating the $1.80 stamp the miniature sheet carried a surcharge to raise funds to help support the hobby.

Philanippon '91 Rugby Miniature Sheet: a Philatelic Trust to help
New Zealand Post attended the World Stamp Exhibition 'Philanippon '91' held in Toyko in 1991. A special overprinted version of the Rugby miniature sheet was produced to commemorate the event. Issued 16 November 1991.

Product listing for 1991 Rugby World Cup

Click on image to enlarge.

Image Title Description Price
Single Stamp

Single 80c 'Children's Rugby' gummed stamp.

Any sport must attract youngsters to survive. Rugby has had little difficulty in encouraging boys ... and girls ... to the game. There must be something about the rough and tumble, the physical contact, the simple fun of the game that draws thousands from the age of six, or even younger, into its ranks every year.

$0.80
Single Stamp

Single $1.00 'Women's Rugby' gummed stamp.

There is no doubt that rugby, historically, has been the preserve of the masculine gender. This is no longer the case. Introduced approximately ten years ago, it is now one of the fastest growing sports for women in New Zealand.

$1.00
Single Stamp

Single $1.50 'Senior Rugby' gummed stamp.

Most of the rugby clubs that abound in their hundreds throughout New Zealand field a senior team. This is the level to which most players aspire. Senior rugby clashes often generate fierce interclub rivalry, with huge local interest and support. These senior sides are the source from which provincial teams are selected and players may continue on to All Black selection - the ultimate honour - representing New Zealand in the sport.

$1.50
Single Stamp

Single $1.80 'All Blacks' gummed stamp.

Some historians will tell you that Te Rauparaha, the famous Māori Chieftain, originated the chant, part of which has become the haka used by the All Blacks to intimidate their opponents on the test rugby fields of the world. Whether this is true or not will always be debated but an indisputable fact is that the cry - Ka Mate! Ka Mate! Ka Ora! Ka Ora! - has a chilling effect and has become a proud tradition at All Black encounters over many years.

$1.80
Miniature Sheet Mint, used or cancelled miniature sheet. $2.40
First Day Cover First day cover with stamps affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $5.35
Miniature Sheet First Day Cover First day cover with miniature sheet affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $2.65
Presentation Pack Presentation pack containing a selection of stamp products from the issue and further information on the theme of the stamps. $9.90

Technical information

Date of issue: 21 August 1991
Designers: Allan Mitchell, Wellington, NZ
Printer: Leigh Mardon, Australia
Stamp size: 28mm x 40mm
Miniature sheet size: 112mm x 90mm
Sheet size: 100 stamps per sheet; Miniature Sheets of one stamp
Process: Lithography
Perforation gauge: 14.30 x 14
Paper type: Coated Papers, red phosphor coated, unwatermarked
Period of sale: These stamps remained on sale until 21 August 1992.