Gregor Paul is the Herald on Sunday's rugby writer

All Blacks: Record attempt adds spice to tasty encounter

Tomorrow's test at Eden Park is not just another game says All Blacks captain Kieran Read. It would be wrong, or maybe just silly, for the All Blacks to try to play down the size of opportunity that lies ahead.

They can make history if they win. They can become the first Tier One side to win 18 consecutive tests and earn themselves a world record.

Read has been here before with the All Blacks. He was an integral part of the side that drew in 2014 when they were going for their 17th consecutive victory. He was also part of the All Blacks side that lost in Hong Kong when they were again closing in on the record.
On those occasions, the All Blacks tried to pretend it was business as usual - something they haven't tries this time.

"We have learned that it isn't just another game I guess," says Read. "When you have got something on the line, the opposition raise their game and we have got to raise ours. That's probably the biggest lesson that there is a bit of an extra.

And it is a bit of an extra for both teams. It is not just our record, it is the Australian's record to try to stop us from making it.

"It is going to be put a bit of extra spice on but we are pretty glad we are here at Eden Park."

That extra spice has been relished by the All Blacks who have historically struggled with this fixture in the past. The travel burden of recent weeks has been demanding and the Bledisloe has already been secured.

That has been the way of things for the last few years and goes some way to explaining why the All Blacks drew the third Bledisloe in 2012 and needed a late escape - a last second try and conversion - to salvage victory in 2014.

The world record attempt has rejuvenated the All Blacks and given them a huge lift this week says Read.

"I think it is a great thing from our mental point of view that we have acknowledged what it is at stake," says Read.

"The Australians clearly know what is at stake as well and I am sure they will be coming with as much attitude to try to knock us off.

"It has got to be our preparation, our work, that is going to win us this game. It is not going to be us just thinking it is going to happen.

"The work has been done and I am sure we are going to be all fired up come tomorrow night. It is going to be massive as it has never been done in the history of Tier One nations. But we have just go to take as a game against Australia and prepare like we have for all the other games where we have been successful."

- NZ Herald

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