Poll: Who are the All Blacks biggest rival?

By Sam Hewat

Are the All Blacks at risk of losing some of their biggest traditional rivals? Photo / Photosport
Are the All Blacks at risk of losing some of their biggest traditional rivals? Photo / Photosport

Here's how the All Blacks last 100 games look like, dating all the way back to 2009.

88 wins, 10 losses, 2 draws.

Since Steve Hansen stepped in to fill Graham Henry's shoes in 2011; 54 wins 3 losses 2 draws.

The undeniable fact is the All Blacks are now the most dominant team in sports, but the real question is, who is now our biggest rival?

Only four nations have been able to beat them since the 1987 World Cup, and now we're moving into a time where the Wallabies, traditionally the biggest competitors, have only beaten the All Blacks three times in eight years.

The gap continues to widen, the All Blacks are moving so far away from everyone else that these "traditional rivalries" are beginning to lose their appeal.

Rivalries are supposed to be tough. Grinding wins or losses that tear a country apart, or send them into fits of jubilation.

Close encounters. Separated by home field advantage, fans screaming, and the results meaning something.

The Wallabies no longer hold any of the above for Kiwi fans.

But it doesn't just come down to the last four years.

Rivalries are immortalised by history. France will always hold a sour taste in the mouths of Kiwis, solely for 2007.

South Africa will never be forgotten for going three from three over the All Blacks in the 2009 Tri Nations.

Before the All Blacks recent 14-year Bledisloe run, the Wallabies held it from 1998 to 2003. Think of how frustrated the Aussies are now, and remember we were exactly the same 14 years ago.

Then there is our Northern Hemisphere counterparts; England.

They've beaten us seven times and who will forget that game at Twickenham in 2012? The game that ended the All Blacks unbeaten record and ruined the chance of a "perfect year".

If you can cast your memory back further, maybe it's Wales. A traditional foe that has beaten the All Blacks on three occasions and who always provide fiery and passionate test matches.

In any case, the arch-rivalry is now harder and harder to define. If the Wallabies continue to fall further and further down the ladder, could an Eddie Jones-led England come in as a new All Black nemesis?

- NZ Herald

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