It's on the horizon.
Not the World Cup, but the longest winning sequence by a major rugby country.
The All Blacks have won 13 matches since they succumbed 32-29 last year to South Africa in Hamilton and will be eyeing the 17-test record they share with the Springboks. That side is the next obstacle for the All Blacks in a daunting itinerary which moves to Soweto on August 21.
A few months ago the Crusaders travelled to the same Orlando Stadium arena and left as beaten Super 14 semifinalists, blunted by the Bulls pack, altitude and Morne Steyn's kicking.
"It is an unbelievable stadium, the noise and the atmosphere is unbelievable," Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder said. "Altitude will not be as much a factor as a very angry South African side.
"Discipline is critical as they kick goals from 60m and the ball hangs in the air a long time from box kicks. They are all factors.
"I reckon they will try and bully the All Blacks for the first 20 minutes. Bok teams do not really change, those tactics work for them eight times out of 10. They will be direct, aggressive and try to dominate.
"I think they will choose a more physical pack with people like Juan Smit to bring some horsepower, Francois and Morne Steyn to kick the goals."
All those factors will be exercising the planning of the All Black coaches as the squad rest before leaving on Saturday for the Republic.
Four players added to the 22 involved in the last Bledisloe Cup are Israel Dagg, John Afoa, Anthony Boric and Rene Ranger.
Dagg, Boric, Ben Franks, Corey Flynn and Sam Whitelock will play in the third round of the ITM Cup before leaving with the All Blacks while the Waikato duo of Liam Messam and Richard Kahui have been excluded from the travelling group.
Halfback Jimmy Cowan has to pass a fitness test on his injured rib cartilage tomorrow, otherwise Alby Mathewson will travel in his place.
The All Blacks need a point in their last two games to claim the Tri-Nations title after a series in which they have mixed spectacular and brutal rugby. They have been favoured by the draw which has given them regular breaks, though Henry felt they were showing some effects of their programme.
"I just think we are always just trying to be better and to raise the bar," he said after the latest win against the Wallabies. "We could get smashed in South Africa and those expectations could come back down to base level again."
If the All Blacks get past the Springboks, they have three weeks before they play the Wallabies in Sydney in their final match of the Tri-Nations. After a considerable break, they then leave for the end of year trip starting with a test in Hong Kong against the Wallabies before they head for another Grand Slam quest in Europe. Should they still be unbeaten, the November 14 international against Scotland at Murrayfield will be the test where they can set a record 18 games without defeat.
Major nations consecutive test wins:
All Blacks 17...1965-69
It's on the horizon.