Gregor Paul

Gregor Paul is the Herald on Sunday's rugby writer

All Blacks: Chance for tilt at history

For the second time in two years the All Blacks have the chance to make history today: if they can beat England they will equal the world record for Tier One nations of 17 consecutive test victories.

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Four times in the last eight years they have been here or exceptionally close to here and been tripped up. In 2012 they went to Brisbane in October on 16 consecutive victories, failed to prepare well, wilted in the heat and were lucky to escape with a draw.

In 2010, they played brilliantly to amass 15 straight wins and were on track to make it 16 in Hong Kong until they gifted the Wallabies two late tries. And a poor performance in Rustenburg 2006 -just seven days after they had trounced the Boks in Pretoria-saw them fail to win what would have been a 16th straight test.

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Today the All Blacks want to get the job done. That's partly about their need to deliver a quality performance to set them up for the season. It's partly about a desire to close out the series 3-0 and it's partly about the bigger goal they have set themselves.

"Our aspiration is to try to be the most dominant side in the history of the game," said All Black coach Steve Hansen before the campaign began. "That's not something we believe we are-it is something we are striving for.

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"What does that look like? [being the most dominant team in history]. There are some obvious outcomes. No one has won more than 17 tests in a row; no one has gone undefeated two years in a row; no one has won back-to-back World Cups. They are obvious outcome goals."

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But the All Blacks, having fallen at this hurdle so many times, are not focused on outcome, which is why there has been little discussion within the camp about history or world records Halfback Aaron Smith says of the possibility of 17 straight wins: "That would be a huge achievement for the team, but for us it would just be nice to put June away with a 3-0. "That would be huge for the whole legacy thing but I'll be pretty excited just to come off the field [in Hamilton] one point better than England."

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- NZ Herald

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