New Zealand officially claimed their 18-match winning streak record in a convincing manner after beating Australia 37-10 at Eden Park on Saturday. Let’s track how New Zealand achieved this incredible feat.
New Zealand’s road to the record started with a defeat against Australia. The Wallabies got in their way when they lost 27-19 after an incredible display, especially from loose forwards Michael Hooper and David Pocock who controlled the breakdown in fantastic fashion.
The men in black got their own back though when they played Australia later in the year in Auckland and won 41-13 to prove their superiority.
A little later that year was the Rugby World Cup. Their first game was against Argentina at Wembley Stadium. The South Americans pushed the New Zealanders with an electric running game, something the All Blacks wouldn’t have expected. New Zealand won that game 26-16 but were made to work for it.
As you would expect, New Zealand breezed through the pool stages as they left Namibia, Georgia and Tonga demolished in their wake, scoring over 40 points in every game. A familiar yet terrifying threat then presented itself. The French. France beat New Zealand in the semi-finals in the 2007 Rugby World Cup and the men from the long white cloud were labelled as chokers for four long years after. But the All Blacks didn’t make that mistake again and clobbered France 62-13, their attack spear-headed by Julian Savea who scored a hat-trick.
The semi-finals would pose another dangerous encounter as they had to face the old enemy, South Africa. The Sub-Saharans were defensively masterful but presented nothing in attack and New Zealand scraped by 20-18 to set up an all-Antipodean final with Australia. The Wallabies were left bewildered by a rampaging All Black hoard that ran them ragged, and New Zealand would etch their name in history with a 34-17 win.
New Zealand then hosted Wales in a three-Test series where New Zealand sent the Dragons packing with their tails between their legs with convincing score-lines of 39-21, 36-22 and 46-6 all in New Zealand’s favour.
The Rugby Championship was their next challenge, or lack there of, after a clean sweep of winning every game and collecting a try-scoring bonus point in every one, an incredible triumph. South African had the chance to stop the All Black juggernaut from reaching their tied record of 17 straight wins. But alas the South Africans valiant defensive effort could not hold and New Zealand busted the dam wall scoring nine tries in the process.
All they needed was one more win against Australia at Eden Park. Considering they were playing at their fortress in front of a home crowd, it should have been simple. The All Blacks started the game off with two quick tries in succession, both of which weren’t converted by Beauden Barrett. It was 10-0 and New Zealand looked as though they were in control. But then Australia hit back through some enterprising play which saw Wallaby giant Rory Arnold cross the try-line, which Foley made no mistake in converting. At half time the score was 15-7 to the hosts but Australia were gaining momentum and started to make New Zealand sweat after the half. But in classic All Black fashion they rallied in the last half hour of the match to crush Australia with the final score at 37-10.
It has said that is might be the best All Black team ever, and with results like these, who could argue?
Their 18 match winning streak results:
New Zealand 37-10 Australia
New Zealand 57-15 South Africa
New Zealand 36-17 Argentina
New Zealand 41-13 South Africa
New Zealand 57-22 Argentina
New Zealand 29-9 Australia
New Zealand 42-8 Australia
New Zealand 46-6 Wales
New Zealand 36-22 Wales
New Zealand 39-21 Wales
New Zealand 34-17 Australia
New Zealand 20-18 South Africa
New Zealand 62-13 France
New Zealand 47-9 Tonga
New Zealand 43-10 Georgia
New Zealand 58-14 Namibia
New Zealand 26-16 Argentina
New Zealand 41-13 Australia
by Nicholas McGregor