Wynne Gray 's Opinion

Wynne Gray is a Herald columnist

Wynne Gray: Wallabies guard path to record tally

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The All Blacks will need to beat the Wallabies to break their world record of consecutive test wins. Photo / Mark Mitchell
The All Blacks will need to beat the Wallabies to break their world record of consecutive test wins. Photo / Mark Mitchell

It would be the Wallabies who stand in the way of the All Blacks' world record search for consecutive test wins. They've had a habit of interrupting those attempts in the last two decades.

Three times in that period as the All Blacks have appeared on course to raise the bar of 17 wins, the yellow-clad villains across the Ditch have upset the grand plan.

Now they are manning the barricades again, exuding an extra edge of confidence after a run of seven wins and quality work from Israel Folau, Scott Fardy, Michael Hooper and Matt Toomua.

Circle the date in your calendar: August 16, Sydney.

Australia love their winners and do well to shed the miscues in between success. All is well and good in Wallaby-land after they saw off the French but only two games ago they struggled to a turgid victory with two motley penalty goals in Melbourne.

As a marketing weapon for rugby in Victoria, the game was as inspiring as turtle racing.

No matter, the latest test win in Sydney erased all that dross. For the public maybe but coach Ewen McKenzie, as befits a former test prop, was having none of the seven and climbing rah rah rah chatter.

"You don't hang around in that top position without good reason," he said of the All Blacks. "If you look at the series, they pushed through pretty well. It was tight early and they did better and better again."

Now the All Blacks have to retune their minds and settle back into Super 15 routines for a spell before they embark on their Sydney sortie.

Historians among the group will be assembling messages for the current group about previous chances they let slip to overhaul the record set by the All Blacks in 1965-69 and the Springboks in 1997-98.

There was a sloppy draw with the Wallabies in Brisbane in 1988 in the guts of an unbeaten 23-test streak, which eventually came to grief at the hands of ... you guessed it, the Ockers in 1990. More recently there was the injury-time 26-24 loss to the Wallabies in Hong Kong in 2010 which stopped a run at 15 and the 18-all stalemate in Brisbane in 2012 that halted that sequence at 16.

The Wallabies have recently got close without putting enough heat on their regular rivals.

They are building and have shown new dimension to their work yet only managed to get past Argentina in last year's Rugby Championship.

Bookies favour the All Blacks to win this year's series and the Wallabies to finish last although they also have them priced to be the next side to topple the men in black. Is that Sydney, Auckland, Brisbane or some time next year?

- NZ Herald

Wynne Gray

Wynne Gray is a Herald columnist

NZ Herald senior rugby writer Wynne Gray has been covering the All Blacks for almost 25 years and has attended more than 230 All Blacks tests live for the Herald.

Read more by Wynne Gray

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