You may have heard that the All Blacks tonight have the opportunity to create world rugby’s largest winning streak in test matches. It is a record that ignores Lithuania’s achievements, but world rugby tends to ignore the lesser nations.
The All Blacks, of course, have a proud history that spans over 110 years. Always at the top table of international teams, it seems a bit sudden that this particular side should be on the brink of earning the status of best All Black team ever, as we have heard during the week.
This is complete rubbish, and a disservice to the proud history of that team.
Even putting aside that a large number of these matches are friendlies, and that international rugby is currently at a really low level, the record, should it be achieved, extends for a period of all of 21 months. That is not an era.
Three All Black eras stand out. The 1965-69 team probably is the benchmark. That a team should be unbeaten for that period of time was remarkable, and that pack epitomised the legend of the team.
From 1987-90 the team dominated the sport, and took it to a new level more than any other side. There is a slight asterisk in that South Africa was isolated at the time, but some of the rugby played by that team was revolutionary.
More recently, the 2004-6 All Blacks weren’t bad either. That perfect performance in Paris, the demolition of the Lions, total domination over the Boks and Wallabies; it was the all-round team. Then 2007 came along and the brainstrust got cute.
Anyway, as part of this jaw-dropping, record setting era was a promotional AIG Expo match against Japan. Who can remember anything about that?
Should the All Blacks win tonight, and then again at Eden Park next week (the real record breaker) we may be ready for a chat.