Patrick McKendry

Patrick McKendry is a rugby writer for the Herald.

Rugby: Springboks' streak on the line

Who has the better recent record, the All Blacks or the Springboks? Many would automatically go with the former but it is Heyneke Meyer's men who are on a better streak, including an away victory over England.

The Boks beat England 16-15 at Twickenham in November, a victory which Meyer believes flicked a mental switch for his team. They sit on nine consecutive victories (the All Blacks are on six) and will attempt their 10th at Eden Park, where the All Blacks haven't lost since 1994.

The victory over England is significant because they, of course, proved a test too far for the All Blacks late last year, Steve Hansen's men crashing to a 38-21 defeat - the only one of his reign as head coach and an extremely painful one. It was a record victory for England both in terms of points scored and margin.

South Africa's last loss came in last year's Rugby Championship in October when they were beaten 32-16 by the All Blacks in Soweto, a crushing defeat given they were ahead 16-12 at halftime. Hansen's men had travelled to the Republic from Argentina but still had far too much firepower late in the game and it was the Boks who looked the more weary.

Meyer is rightly proud of his recent record, which began on South Africa's end of year tour to the UK with a narrow victory over Ireland in Dublin. Helping to boost it was the quadrangular tournament against Italy, Scotland and Samoa, hosted and won by the South Africans in June, but they won impressively against Argentina at home in the first Rugby Championship test, edging the return game in Mendoza before their recent triumph in Brisbane over the Wallabies.

"We're still way off where we want to be," Meyer said. "The fact that we beat England, though by one point, really started the guys believing. We've won nine on the trot now, going for 10, and five of those were away games. So the belief is there but you still have to do it on the pitch.

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"There's a belief we can beat the All Blacks. I want to state it very clearly - it's great being in New Zealand and we have a lot of respect for the All Blacks and the coaching team and what they stand for ... and hopefully they've got the same respect for us."

The All Blacks' winning streak consists of three victories over France in June and three Rugby Championship test wins, over Australia (twice) and Argentina.

Springbok streak

* Beat Ireland in Dublin 16-12
* Beat Scotland in Edinburgh 21-10
* Beat England in London 16-15
* Beat Italy in Durban 44-10
* Beat Scotland in Nelspruit 30-17
* Beat Samoa in Pretoria 56-23
* Beat Argentina in Soweto 73-13
* Beat Argentina in Mendoza 22-17
* Beat Australia in Brisbane 38-12

* Last defeat was to All Blacks 32-16 in Soweto in October.

- APNZ

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