New Zealand Fall One Short of Record Winning Run

by Jack Hamshaw

New Zealand have produced some great times in their history but this current side must surely be up their with the best. Recently the All Blacks had the chance to equal the longest winning run in test history of 17 consecutive matches when they played Australia at Suncorp Stadium. New Zealand’s previous loss, 16 test matches ago, came at the same stadium.


It was not meant to be for New Zealand and the irony came with Dan Carter, a player for the ages, missing a last-minute drop-goal from right in front of the posts, 20 metres out. The match ended in an 18-18 draw, in what was a super-human effort from an Australia side that were missing 10 first-team players and were down to their fourth choice captain.

In the recent era New Zealand have been the outstanding team and it has been astonishing that they won their first world cup in 24 years in Auckland, last October. Having gone through the tournament not only undefeated but not even challenged until they almost bottled in the final, New Zealand have gone from strength to strength and won all 6 matches in the new Rugby Championship with alarming ease.  It would have been fitting for them to reach and overtake the record for the longest winning run in world rugby.  Currently in top tier rugby, the All Blacks side from 1969 and South Africans from 1998 hold the record but few would have argued that this side were not worthy.

Had they beaten Australia, they would have then marched to Europe looking to break the record before their captain Richie McCaw takes a 6-month sabbatical from the game. Early this season McCaw brought up his 100th test match victory. Not only is this a phenomenal effort but it is all the more staggering that it was achieved from 112 matches. McCaw is a true leader, one of the best players ever and a player 100% committed to his country. McCaw is not swayed by money as after being granted a 6-month sabbatical, he has not decided to take up lucrative offers in Japan or France but to take time out of the game to do his upmost to make sure that he is around to help the Kiwis defend their World Cup title in 2015. Whether McCaw makes it that far before his body gives in is anybody’s guess and a fair amount of luck but one cannot take away how much he has done for the game and for New Zealand rugby.
New Zealand are currently playing a level of rugby, which is so beyond anyone else in the world. The Crusaders got closest to this level a couple of years ago as did Leinster in winning back to back Heineken Cup’s. As good as the players are that New Zealand produce, their coaches are even better. Every successful side of recent years has had a Kiwi coach and it is no coincidence. The Crusaders side that won 7 Super Rugby titles in 10 years with Robbie Deans, Steve Hansen and Verb Cotter in charge. Wales won grand slams with Steve Hansen and Graham Henry in charge, Leinster have won 3 of the last 4 Heineken Cup’s with Kiwi Joe Schmidt in charge and Clermont won the Top 14 and look the greatest threat to the European Cup with Vern Cotter in charge. All these coaches bar Schmidt stem from the Crusaders and Canterbury region, without them the rugby seen today around the world would surely be totally different.

New Zealand are at a level with their game that no side has reached in recent history, they can play many styles and I know that they put in a poor performance against Australia but they didn’t lose. They will surely dominate World Rugby for years to come as besides McCaw, Mealamu and Andrew Hore none of their players are on the crisp of retiring and imagine if they had the world most talented player, Sonny-Bill Williams in the their side every week, scary isn’t it!


A truly legendary crop of players. One note on three coaches form NZ however. Neither Henry nor Hansen managed a grand slam with Wales. Henry provided a very good, but Hansen’s reign was generally underwhelming; only throwing in the core of what would become the Grandslam team the following year as cannon fodder to the NZ favourites in the 2003 World cup. Expecting a cricket score, G. Thomas, Shane williams and several other fringe players had other ideas and frightening the life out of NZ on that day. It took Mike Ruddock from Wales to about turn these ‘fringe players’, change the system by which they played and make these the core of the grandslam winning team by 2005, something that either Kiwis had failed to do. This was the core of the already Grandslam winning team that Gatland inherited, and returned to win a further 2 grandslams since. Notwithstanding this, these coaches made a valuable contribution to Welsh rugby.

Jack – when reading about the ABs there are only 4 things I like to read:
1) banter for and against the Haka
2) the strange homoerotic fascination NZ has with McCaw and Carter
3) how every AB coach looks like a bulldog chewing a wasp
4) banter regarding legendary matches (eg NZ v Fra 1999)

I can read the NZ times (or whatever) for serious “we love the ABs” articles

Bravo, Jack. I come over here to sniff the corpse of a fallen blog comrade and what do I see but a well-researched and well-articulated statement of rugby fact as it pertains to NZ rugby bedazzlement. Hear, hear. Keep up the good work.

In case anyone is in any doubt, this post was put on this blog because Xmas is coming and a man should maximise ‘opportunities to have a good Xmas’ if you follow me.

I’m going to start posting again for the Autumn games, 4 months off has made me realise how much I need to rant for fear of my head exploding without it.

Hahaha! Very true very true Beak!! But if you want to read about that you just need to read that toss pot Stephen Jones in the Sunday Times

Anyway – the saffas are taking over the England team! 🙂

Indeed a “well-researched and well-articulated statement of rugby fact” – what on earth is it doing on B&M??

That’s the best news I’ve heard all month. No shit.

Can’t wait.

Welcome back to your own blog, Lee.

All the way from Christchurch NZ, great to hear you’re back up & running. Have missed having an “outsiders view” of the AB’s, and info about whats happening in the sport over that side of the world. It’s tough to find good rugby opinion/discussion over here that doesn’t sound like an Adidas sponsored cheerleading squad.

Hey Rugby Beak, Jenkins wasn’t mentioned. Hansen made a pigs ear of selection with most of the GS players NOT ON THE PITCH and some barely in the 22, he also used a different playing system. For instance, he had Shane Williams as a fourth choice scrum half, not a winger?! Ruddock used very different payers and playing system and ended with a perfect record.
As I said, notwithstanding some of these clear bad coaching periods, NZ coaches have made a big impact in Wales, especially the usually overlooked Andrew Hoare. PersonallyI would credit him with the biggest change in Welsh rugby in almost a generation …

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