The All Blacks' streak: 16 and counting

Dan Carter has been a driving force behind the All Blacks' success. Photo / Getty Images.
Dan Carter has been a driving force behind the All Blacks' success. Photo / Getty Images.

When the All Blacks run out to face the Wallabies at Suncorp Stadium tomorrow night they will have gone 420 days since their last defeat - against the same side at the same ground. Since then they have gone 16 matches without another loss and look to tie the record held by the All Blacks of the 1960s and Springboks of the 1990s when they face the Wallabies tomorrow night. Here's are look back at those how they did it...

The last defeat: All Blacks 20 Australia 25
The August 27 loss was a Tri-Nations decider and the side's last match before hosting the Rugby World Cup. In front of 51,000 fans the Wallabies scored three tries to two with Kurtley Beale, Will Genia and Radike Samo crossing over for the home side. While New Zealand have gone unbeaten since that game, Australia have won 12 of their 18 last encounters, including defeats to Ireland, Scotland and three losses to the All Blacks.

Number 1 - All Blacks 41 Tonga 10 - RWC
The All Blacks had a slow start to the Rugby World Cup opener in front of a packed 60,000 strong Eden Park.

In a match mostly remembered for the lack of strength in Sonny Bill Williams' All Black jersey, Israel Dagg scored the opening try of the tournament before the home side took a 29-3 lead into the break. However it was 18 minutes before they scored another point and only 'won' the second half 12-7.

Number 2 - All Blacks 83 Japan 7 - RWC
No McCaw, no Read, no Carter, no problem for the All Blacks as they cruised to a 76-point win over Japan in their second World Cup pool match, played at Hamilton's Waikato Stadium. New Zealand scored 13 tries to one with Richard Kahui and Sonny Bill Williams picking up doubles.Eight All Blacks returned from the week before with Ma'a Nonu, Richard Kahui and Isaia Toeava playing in different positions and the side was captained by Keven Mealamu in the absence of McCaw.

Number 3 - All Blacks 37 France 17 - RWC
The first real test for the All Blacks in pool A after easy victories over Tonga and Japan and they made an early statement with three tries in the opening 20 minutes. In the 50th test match between the two nations, the All Blacks extended their 19-3 halftime lead with an Israel Dagg try shortly after the break and from there the result was never in doubt.

Number 4 - All Blacks 79 Canada 15 - RWC
Zac Guildford scored four tries but a big win over Canada brought little joy for All Blacks fans after Dan Carter was ruled out of the tournament earlier in the day. Colin Slade donned the number 10 jersey and had a mixed performance before he was shifted to the wing as the All Blacks produced their second biggest victory over the current win streak.

Number 5 - All Blacks 33 Argentina 10 - RWC
Another game and another number 10 for the All Blacks as third choice first-five Aaron Cruden had to replace Slade who suffered a groin tear. Seven penalties from Piri Weepu kept the All Blacks in control after conceeding the lead on the half hour mark. It took a try to Kieran Read with 13 minutes left to make the game safe and ensure the All Blacks didn't make another quarterfinal exit.

Number 6 - All Blacks 20 Australia 6 - RWC
From Quade Cooper's opening kick off that went straight into touch, it looked like it wasn't going to be the Wallabies' night as they attempted to repeat their 2003 semifinal victory over the All Blacks. Some Israel Dagg brilliance put Ma'a Nonu over for the opening try in the fifth minute before the sides traded a penalty and a drop goal each to make it 11-6. Cooper's drop goal in the 31st minute would be Australia's last scoring play as Weepu closed out another victory with his boot. Sonny Bill spent the last five minutes in the bin but it didn't matter as the All Blacks reached their third ever World Cup final.

Number 7 - All Blacks 8 France 7 - RWC
Without doubt the most important victory of the current winning streak. 24 years of heartbreak wiped out in a scrappy encounter against the French. Tony Woodcock become the second prop to score a try in a World Cup final after a slick set piece lineout move. Stephen Donald, playing in his only match of the 16-game streak, replaced the injured Aaron Cruden to become the fourth no.10 used at the tournament and kicked what would be the match-winning penalty shortly after halftime making it 8-0. France hit straight back with a try to skipper Thierry Dusautoir leading to a tense final half hour.

Number 8 - All Blacks 42 Ireland 10
First test of the Steve Hansen era as he introduced three new caps in Aaron Smith, Brodie Retallick and Julian Savea who have gone on to have strong test seasons. Savea celebrated his debut with a hattrick and Dan Carter finished with 17 points as the All Blacks completed a comfortable start to the 2012 season.

Number 9 - All Blacks 22 Ireland 19
Other than the World Cup final the second test against Ireland is the closest the All Blacks have come to defeat since their Suncorp loss last year. After giving up an early 10-0 lead, Ireland levelled the match up at 19-19 late in the match before a Dagg yellow-card left the ABs with 14 men for the final eight minutes. However Ireland's best chance to claim their first ever win over New Zealand was ruined by a Carter drop goal in the final minute that secured a three point win.

Number 10 - All Blacks 60 Ireland 0
Bouoyed by their performance the weekend before, the Irish came against an All Blacks side firing on all cyclanders with Sam Cane impressing in his first test start with 16 tackles and two tries. Sonny Bill Williams scored another test double in Hamilton and fellow Chief Aaron Cruden was outstanding before limping off midway through the first half. Beauden Barrett, the fifth no.10 used during the streak, replaced Cruden and didn't take a backwards step as the All Blacks dotted down another six tries.

Number 11 - All Blacks 27 Australia 19
The All Blacks first away game in 10 matches, New Zealand got off to the perfect start to the new Rugby Championship with another victory over their trans-tasman rivals. In a gritty, error-ridden match the All Blacks made the most of continuous Australian errors to score 18 unanswered points with tries to Dagg and Cory Jane before a Nathan Sharpe try made it 18-8 at the break. The sides traded penalties throughout a forgettable second half before Carter denied the Wallabies a bonus point with his fifth penalty right on fulltime.

Number 12 - All Blacks 22 Australia 0
Back to Eden Park for the seventh time in the streak where the Wallabies were looking to end their own streak (a losing one) against the men in black at the ground that stretches back to 1986. They would have helped their cause if they at least scored a point but they were left scoreless in another strong display by the All Blacks. Dagg scored the only try of the match and Carter again kicked five penalties.

Number 13 - All Blacks 21 Argentina 5
The All Blacks were possibly too welcoming to the Rugby Championship newcomers who took a shock lead with the opening try, much like they did in the Rugby World Cup quarterfinal. Three penalties from Cruden took the ABs out to a 9-5 lead before Savea finally scored their opening try with 14 minutes remaining. Jane scored a second five minutes later as the All Blacks hands let them down for large parts in windy conditions.

Number 14 - All Blacks 21 South Africa 11
A classic hard fought All Blacks-Springboks match where Dean Greyling's attempted decapitation of the All Black skipper typified the brutal encounter. Early on Dagg scored his ninth try in 12 games and set up a 5-3 lead at the break before Bryan Habana ran through some weak All Blacks' defence to give South Africa a brief 8-5 lead. After an Cruden penalty, Aaron Smith darted over as two more Cruden penalty sealed a 10-point win.

Number 15 - All Blacks 54 Argentina 15
The All Blacks finally delivered the complete performance that they'd been promising all season with a seven tries to two victory in their first match on Argentinean soil in six years. Jane crossed over three times and Savea added another two but only after Argentina scored first for the third straight time. The side's 15th straight win locked up the inaugural Rugby Championship title.

Number 16 - All Blacks 32 South Africa 16
The biggest threat to break the streak with the all mighty task of beating South Africa in South Africa. Once again though the All Blacks were up to the task scoring 20-unanswered points in the second spell after trailing16-12 at halftime. The win was McCaw's 100th as All Black skipper in his 112th test, arguably a more impressive achievement than the team's current win streak.

BREAKDOWN

Opponents:
vs Australia - Three wins
vs Ireland - Three wins
vs Argentina - Three wins
vs South Africa - Two wins
vs France - Two wins
vs Canada - One win
vs Tonga - One win
vs Japan - One win

Venues:
At Eden Park - Seven wins
At Waikato Stadium - Two wins
At Westpac Stadium - Two wins
At AMI Stadium - One win
At Forsyth Barr Stadium - One win
At ANZ Stadium, Sydney - One win
At Estadio De La Plata, Buenos Aires - One win
At FNB Stadium, Johannesburg - One win

In New Zealand: 13 wins
Overseas: Three wins

- nzherald.co.nz

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