Patrick McKendry

Patrick McKendry is a rugby writer for the Herald.

All Blacks: Sights set on being top test nation

South Africa for the Springboks have been by far the toughest opponents for the All Blacks. Photo / Getty Images
South Africa for the Springboks have been by far the toughest opponents for the All Blacks. Photo / Getty Images

Adding significance to what is likely to be a momentous occasion tomorrow, the All Blacks will become the most successful test nation should they beat the Springboks.

Last weekend's 28-13 victory over Argentina in Hamilton equalled France's record of 382 wins but the All Blacks have achieved it in far fewer matches - 504 compared with 695 for France.

Now they are on the brink of claiming the record outright and it is probably appropriate that the opposition is South Africa for the Springboks have been by far the toughest opponents for the All Blacks.

New Zealand have a 56.47 per cent winning record over the old foe in an overall test winning record of 75.79 per cent. The All Blacks first played the Boks in 1921 (a 13-5 win at Carisbrook for the home team) and they have played each other 85 times. The All Blacks have won 48, the Boks 34, with three drawn.

For coach Steve Hansen, the All Blacks' success must be used as a motivating factor.

"In the All Blacks, whether you're a coach or player or the baggage man, you're expected to win every test," he said last week.

"So whether you've never lost to them before or whether you've had one, two or three losses, that doesn't change.

"Once you've embraced that it's actually quite a motivating factor. As a group of people, we want to win every game we play and we want to play well. You can't allow someone else's expectations to be greater than yours if you're in this team."

- NZ Herald

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