The Cavaliers was the name given to an unofficial New Zealand rugby union team which toured South Africa in 1986, playing the Springbok rugby team.
After the intensely controversial 1981 South African tour of New Zealand, which had provoked nationwide protest and worldwide condemnation, the official All Black tour planned for 1985 was cancelled due to a legal ruling that it would be incompatible with the NZRFU's legally stated purpose: "...the fostering and encouragement of the game of rugby..."
Of the 30 players who had been selected for the 1985 tour, only David Kirk and John Kirwan did not join the Cavaliers. The rebel team were widely believed to have received large secret payments—a controversial issue at a time when rugby union was still supposedly an amateur sport.
The Cavaliers were coached by Colin Meads, managed by Ian Kirkpatrick and captained by Andy Dalton and won just one of the four matches against South Africa, although they won seven of their eight other games on the tour. Dalton, however suffered a broken jaw in the second match of the tour against Northern Transvaal and played no more rugby that season, Jock Hobbs assumed the captaincy duties for the test matches against the Springboks while Andy Haden did the same for the midweek matches.
It was widely condemned for touring apartheid South Africa, and very controversial within New Zealand - and there were no future rugby contacts until the South African apartheid regime ended.
The players found that support for their actions was far less than they had expected. On their return, the NZRFU barred all the players from participating in the next two All Black tests, and instead selected a new group of players. Most of these replacement players were younger, and were quickly dubbed the "Baby Blacks". Those new All Blacks went on to form the basis of one of the most successful periods in All Black rugby, which resulted in many Cavalier players struggling to get their places back.
Not being able to play with the traditional jersey, the team presented on the field with a black uniform, relieved with bands of gold in honour of the tour sponsor, the South African Yellow Pages, who also covered the stay expenses for the team. The emblem consisted of a gold background with a green oval in which an upright silver fern accompanied by a Springbok appeared.