Sports

Will The All Blacks Actually Ever Lose Again?

The All Blacks have now won a record-equalling 17 straight tests, and look unstoppable.
October 10, 2016, 8:20pm
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It's become custom in international rugby this year. The All Blacks do a haka, start a rugby test and pulverize their opponents into humiliating submission.

Take this year's Rugby Championship, for example. In their six games against Australia, South Africa and Argentina, New Zealand notched up six victories - all with a four-try bonus point.

In those six games, the All Blacks scored 262 points and conceded just 84. That's an average scoreline of 44-14.

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You could argue that Argentina - considered the minnows of the yearly top tier Southern Hemisphere rugby tournament - came closest with their 36-17 loss to the ABs in Buenos Aires two weeks ago. But, hell, that's hardly close is it?

Over the weekend, New Zealand piled on a cricket score against South Africa; embarrassing their hosts 57-15 in Durban.

As the All Black steamroller continued, they reach a point - after their test in Durban - where they now stand on the cusp of history. New Zealand have now won 17 straight tests; equalling the record - held by themselves and South Africa - for most by a tier-one rugby nation.

Between 2008 and 2014, Cyprus won 24 straight 'tests' - but clearly the likes of victories against rugby uber-minnows Latvia, Austria and Hungary are hardly on the All Blacks level of dominance.

The All Blacks have tallied up 17 straight tests wins in a row twice before.

Highlights of the All Blacks 57-15 victory over South Africa in Durban last weekend. Source: Youtube.

The first time was between 1965 and 1970, when they were managed by legendary coach Sir Fred 'The Needle' Allen and iconic players like Sir Colin Meads, Sir Brian Lahore, Kel Tramain, Waka Nathan and 'Super' Sid Going. The second time came between 2013 and 2014, which feature a huge number of the current squad.

New Zealand's longest ever undefeated streak came between 1987 and 1990 with 23 tests; though one match was drawn.

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This time, the All Blacks look almost certain to break the record. The opportunity to do it comes against Australia at Eden Park in Auckland on October 22 in a Bledisloe Cup 'decider'.

Never mind the fact that the Wallabies have been an absolute rabble this year; the All Blacks are undefeated at Eden Park since a 18-18 draw with the Springboks there in 1994. That's an incredible 21 years ago.

Consider too; the All Blacks haven't lost at home for 44 straight tests now. Their last defeat on Kiwi soil came against South Africa in Hamilton in September 2009. That's seven years ago. Since then, the All Blacks have won two World Cups.

The question is, once the record falls, when will they lose next?

New Zealand have four more tests this year, after the game against Australia. First up is Ireland, in Chicago, on November 5 before a three-test European tour against Italy, Ireland (again) and France.

Next year, the All Blacks host the British and Irish Lions on their much-awaited 2017 New Zealand tour for three tests, before the Rugby Championship gets under way again.

Highlights of the All Blacks last defeat, against Australia last August. Source: Youtube.

The French and Italians are currently nowhere near New Zealand's level of class, and, given the All Blacks fortress-like home record, odds have got to be on for the ABs to clean sweep the Lions next year.Of those upcoming nine tests, the two away games against Ireland look the most likely as an upset.

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Look at the Irish, though. In 28 tests between New Zealand and Ireland since 1905, the Irish have never beaten the All Blacks.

While Steve Hansen's All Blacks are about as dominant as any team in world sport right now (yep, even including the Golden State Warriors), plenty of things could swing against them. Say star first-five Beauden Barrett suffers some terrible injury, or halfback Aaron Smith fails to recover, in form, from his recent 'disabled airport toilet sex' scandal.

The replacements for both are of a high quality, but still; missing their top players at the game's key pivot positions will be tough. Outside that, New Zealand has enough depth to pretty much cover anyone.

At VICE Sports AUNZ HQ, we have crunched the numbers - and have come up with a likely loss date. It'll come on July 1 next season, when the British & Irish Lions - who are coached by Kiwi Warren Gatland - play the All Blacks in Wellington. It'll set up a grandstand finish to the tour, and expect the ABs to roll up start another streak in Auckland the following weekend.

That'd be 23 tests on the trot, by our reckoning. If the All Blacks don't lose that one, though - well - maybe they never will.

We're not kidding.