New Zealand will be out to break the record for most wins in a row when they take on Australia at Eden Park on Saturday.
Although the Rugby Championship is done and dusted the final game of the Bledisloe Cup still needs to be played with plenty on the line. The All Black juggernaut is on a 17 match winning streak and seem to be hurtling towards finally breaking the 18 match winning record, never before achieved by a Tier 1 Nation.
South Africa and New Zealand have both come close to breaking the record but neither have been able to accomplish it yet.
New Zealand coach Steve Hansen says the chance of breaking the record has breathed new life back into the camp.
“We’ve got two choices, we can try to ignore and then enjoy it if it happens or we can say ‘this is an opportunity’,” he said.
“And we’ve chosen to say, ‘Yep, it is an opportunity. It is there right in front of us, what are we going to do about it?’
“Obviously Australia are going to have something to say about it but we’ve got something to say about it too and if we go out there and prepare the best we have and can, and then go and play the best we can, and if we can, if we’re good enough we’ll win and if we’re not good enough then we have to accept that and work out where we went wrong.”
There will be added incentive for Australia after they halted New Zealand’s run to break the record previously.
Hansen reportedly knew what changes Australia coach Cheika was going to make before the announcement of the side and when asked about it Cheika had a tongue in cheek reply.
“Really? The bug is obviously not working anymore so he must have had someone there watching (referring to the bug that was found in the New Zealand change room before an earlier Test between the two sides), I don’t know … He must have known somehow,” he said.
“I’m not quite sure because the bug is gone. We stayed in Double Bay and did a bit of a broom around and couldn’t find any. He made good on the lotto tickets, get the numbers.”
The Australia coach spoke about omitting fly-half Quade Cooper to the bench and moving Bernard Foley to 10.
“Maybe it’s not about whether Bernard was a better option than Quade but more about the combination changing, just to look at something different,” he said.
“I just wanted to look at a different feel for this game, a few different ideas.
“I think testing new ideas on the biggest stage sometimes, some people may not think is the right time, but I think that’s the place where you’ll see if it really is something that can work in the future.”