The ruthless performances against the Lions in 2005 sent the All Blacks top. Hannah Johnston
Ch ch ch ch changes!

The sporting world has changed a lot in the time New Zealand have been rugby's top test nation

Brian O’Driscoll’s arm was in a sling, while Roy Keane was still Manchester United captain.

AS OF TODAY, the All Blacks have held top spot on the world rugby rankings for  521 weeks, which means they’ve been top for a cumulative 10 years.

Considering the rugby rankings system came into effect just before the start of the 2003 World Cup, it means that they’ve spent less than two of the last 12 years away from top spot.

To mark the incredible feat, we’ve decided to turn the clock back to 2005, and see just how much can change in the space of a decade.

*Cue the Reeling in the Years music*

Audio4You / YouTube


While the test picture has remained largely the same, plenty has changed in the world of rugby.

Biarritz were the reigning Top 14 champions this day 10 years ago, today they languish in the Pro D2, and are staring down a financial black hole.

Here at home, neither Munster nor Leinster had won a Heineken Cup title, while Ulster – still the only Irish winners of the competition – hadn’t made it out of their group since they’d won it six years earlier.

Brian O’Driscoll spent that day with his arm in a sling, after the forgettable Lions tour to New Zealand.

Also, not only did Paul O’Connell have lots of hair on that tour, but rugby players still wore grip gloves.

Remember grip gloves?

Paul O'Connell tackled by Byron Kelleher INPHO INPHO


On this day in 2005, Manchester United were still captained by Roy Keane, and Alan Smith was a key part of their team.

Liverpool were European Champions after that comeback in Istanbul, and Steven Gerrard had just signed a new deal at the club, ending speculation of a proposed move to Chelsea.

Manchester City were more or less a different football club, where a 30-year-old Robbie Fowler was top scorer, and Shaun Wright-Phillips was the hottest young talent in English football.

Brian Kerr was manager of the Irish soccer team, and their most recent game – a 2-0 win away to the Faroe Islands – had seen a strike force of Stephen Elliott and Clinton Morrison.

Stephen Elliott and Clinton Morrison Dream team. Andrew Paton / INPHO Andrew Paton / INPHO / INPHO

Elsewhere, Lionel Messi had scored one Barcelona goal, while Cristiano Ronaldo was an inconsistent, yet talented, Manchester United winger.


Golf was very, very different.

Tiger Woods was celebrating his second major of the year after winning The Open at St Andrew three days previously.

Tiger had finished second at the US Open championship a few weeks earlier, but ultimately Michael Campbell’s even par was enough to take the title by two shots.

Also, Rory McIlroy was 16, and looked like this.

Rory McIlroy 7/5/2005 Tom Honan Tom Honan


23-year-old Roger Federer just celebrated his sixth Grand Slam title after winning Wimbledon for the third year in a row.

Tim Henman suffered an agonising five set defeat in the second round of Wimbledon, but he was already becoming old news, with 18-year-old Andy Murray making it to the third round.

Tennis - Wimbledon Championships 2005 - Men's Third Round - Andy Murray v David Nalbandian - All England Club PA Archive / Press Association Images PA Archive / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

However, this Brit wasn’t the only tennis youngster making headlines.

In June, the French Open had been won by a 19-year-old Spaniard with an enormous left bicep. Just who was this Rafeael Nadal kid everyone was talking about?

FRANCE TENNIS FRENCH OPEN AP / Press Association Images AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images


Don’t be silly. MMA was invented in 2013.


The inspirational Lance Armstrong was just four days away from winning his seventh Tour De France in a row, and would then retire as one of the greatest athletes of all time.

Would we ever see his like again?

CYCLING TOUR DE FRANCE In 2005, Lance Armstrong was worshipped. AP / Press Association Images AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images


The Celtic Tiger was in full swing at home, and even extended to liberal use of fabric in GAA jerseys, with O’Neills going on a crusade to drown intercounty players in fabric.

There was no tape around the guns back then. The preferred look was to be wearing a large county-coloured bedsheet.

Colm Cooper celebrates 7/8/2005 INPHO INPHO

Peter Canavan Andrew Paton / INPHO Andrew Paton / INPHO / INPHO

Joe Deane comiserates with Ken McGrath INPHO INPHO

And finally – and probably most shockingly – the Cork ladies footballers had never won an All-Ireland senior title.


USA captain Todd Clever thrown out of squad less than two months before Rugby World Cup

Australia breathe a huge sigh of relief after one of their key players cleared of serious injury


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