One prize has eluded the All Blacks in their inexorable romp through the sporting record books.

Five times they have received a nomination for the team of the year prize at the Laureus Sports Awards and five times they've walked away empty-handed.

It's a streak Steve Hansen's men will be aiming to snap at the 2016 ceremony in Berlin on Tuesday morning, but the odds may again be against them.

The All Blacks, of course, have a good case to take the prize, becoming the first team to defend the Rugby World Cup and the first to lift the Webb Ellis Cup three times. But their candidacy appears to depend on whether the wider context of their achievements in 2015 is considered. Because if their deeds of those 12 months are the sole determining factor, it will be tough for the All Blacks to match up against some of their fellow nominees.


Given the waning relevance of the competition, Great Britain's Davis Cup winning team can probably be discounted. And judges would surely be more inclined to honour the Golden State Warriors next year, if they win a second straight NBA title to follow their record-setting regular season, than reward them for 'merely' winning last year's championship.

But the remaining candidates' achievements are of much greater global significance than what the All Blacks accomplished. The United States women's football team topped an unbeaten World Cup with demolition of defending champions Japan in the final, and the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula 1 team dominated one of the most renowned of world sports.

But the presumptive favourites must be football side Barcelona. Spearheaded by Lionel Messi's 58 goals, Barcelona completed their second treble in 2015, edging Real Madrid in La Liga, taking out the Copa del Rey and the Champions League.

For good measure, they cruised to victory at the Club World Cup in Japan, leaving the All Blacks again facing the prospect of being pipped by a football team. When last nominated two years ago, the All Blacks lost out to Bayern Munich, and were luckless in 2012 (Barcelona), 2011 (Spain national team), 2007 (Italy national team) and 2006 (Renault Formula 1 team).

The All Blacks' only real chance of winning a first Laureus appears to be the possibility their achievements in the four-year cycle leading to the World Cup are considered.

After all, no team can boast a 90 per cent winning record over such an extended span and few have displayed such dominance over every opposition, with the All Blacks having lost only three tests in four years.

If the Laureus Awards are to honour a rugby team for the first time since South Africa in 2008, there is unlikely to ever be a more deserving candidate than these All Blacks.

Kiwi interest also extends to the comeback of the year category, where Dan Carter faces some stiff competition. The 33-year-old, honoured for setting aside the disappointment of the 2011 tournament to lead the All Blacks to glory in 2015, will be coming up against Jessica Ennis-Hill (athletics), Mick Fanning (surfing), Michael Phelps (swimming), David Rudisha (athletics) and Lindsay Vonn (skiing).

Carter will be hoping to be just the third Kiwi to claim a Laureus prize. Sir Peter Blake received a lifetime achievement award in 2002 and Levi Sherwood won the action sportsperson prize in 2011.