New Zealand successfully broke the record for consecutive wins after claiming a 37-10 victory against Australia at Eden Park on Saturday.
The win means that they finally break the 17-match streak that was only held by themselves and South Africa previously and extend it to 18. The All Blacks were on the cusp of making the record last year before Australia beat them 27-19 in Sydney.
New Zealand scored six tries in an uncharacteristically error-ridden game from them. They seemed to stutter through a lot of the game instead of demonstrating their usual silky play. Australia didn’t create too many opportunities on attack but looked in control as soon as they started moving.
In classic All Black fashion though, they pulled their performance together in the second-half, turning a fairly close game into a blow-out.
The half-time score was 15-7 to New Zealand after three tries from the home side and Australia were creeping into the game with a solitary five-pointer from second-row Rory Arnold.
After Julian Savea scored his two tries he rose to fourth on the all-time New Zealand try scoring rankings with 45 five-pointers to his name.
Australia had the chance to draw first blood but Bernard Foley’s kick for goal was carried away by the wind. Australia’s missed opportunity was New Zealand’s gain as the home side counter-attacked immediately and sent the ball quickly down the backline for Israel Dagg to score in the corner.
The All Blacks struck again after the Australian defensive line came up too quickly which gave centre Anton Lienert-Brown a gap, which he took astutely and scored his side’s second try of the match 10 minutes in, making the score 10-0 to the home side.
Australia were close to scoring after a great run from Samu Kerevi who broke the All Black line and was close to the try line before being tackled. He just got a pass away but the offload went forward and Australia lost the momentum.
Australia finally got on the scoreboard after some great work from Dane Haylett-Petty and Reece Hodge, whose searing runs took the ball right up field before the ball was swung to Arnold who stretched over the line, making the score 10-7.
New Zealand struck back immediately though after Australia were pushed back into their 22 and Hodge tried to clear. But TJ Perenara was too quick off the line and was able to knock the kick down, collect and score for his side’s third try.
Australia were the first to score in the second-half when they were awarded a penalty in front of the sticks and Foley made no mistake in grabbing his side three points which made the score 15 to 10.
Australia then almost equalised after Foley ran the ball down the midfield, deceived the defence with a fantastic dummy before sending the ball wide to Henry Speight. But the try was disallowed after Haylett-Petty ran in front of Savea and blocked him according to the referee.
The visitors seemed to be really picking up momentum after some great building phases before Nick Phipps made a great break and got an offload out to Speight who knocked the ball on. New Zealand full-back Ben Smith jumped on the opportunity to counter, and ran the ball downfield before grubbering it forward for Savea to pick up and score. Five minutes later Savea scored his second try after a strong run, busting two tackles in the process.
New Zealand hooker Dane Coles then scored after the ever industrious Savea broke straight through the Australian line before being pulled down just before the whitewash. The winger then showed impressive presence of mind to pop the ball off for Coles to score to put the icing on the cake for the All Blacks.