All Blacks ‘best-ever’ rugby side

RECORD ROMP: New Zealand’s Beauden Barrett scores a try during their Rugby Championship match against South Africa in Durban Picture: REUTERS
RECORD ROMP: New Zealand’s Beauden Barrett scores a try during their Rugby Championship match against South Africa in Durban
Picture: REUTERS

Kiwis humiliate Springboks in record nine-try spree in Durban

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen warned his history-making All Blacks yesterday not to get too far ahead of themselves as they were showered with praise following their record-breaking 57-15 thrashing of South Africa in Durban on Saturday.

Former All Blacks captain Sean Fitzpatrick, speaking on SkySports in England, hailed the current side as the best ever after the nine-try demolition took them to a world record-equalling 17th consecutive victory.

The Planet Rugby website rated the All Blacks phenomenal, particularly in the second half when they scored 45 points and conceded only six, describing the performance “as one-sided a game as you will see at test level”.

The All Blacks produced their highest score and biggest winning margin against their arch-rivals in 93 tests dating back to 1921.

They became the first team to go through a Rugby Championship season scoring four or more tries in each test and, if they beat Australia when they clash in Auckland on October 22, they will become the most successful ever top-tier side.

But Hansen said while the All Blacks were a good side and determined to get better, he noted that Australia had a history of upsetting them.

“I wouldn’t get too far ahead of ourselves,” Hansen said.

“If we’re going to go one step further, we’ve got to make sure we prepare really well. Australia are a good rugby side.

“They’ve got a history of turning up when there is a record on the table.”

The Wallabies stopped the All Blacks’ last record run with a 12-12 draw in Sydney in 2014, while in 2010, when the All Blacks were on a 15-match winning streak, they were beaten 26-14 by Australia in Hong Kong.

The All Blacks have convincingly beaten the Wallabies twice already this year – 42-8 in Sydney and 29-9 in Wellington.

Hansen said while there was no guarantee they would win the third encounter, setting records and creating history was their aim.

“We’re trying to find different horizons all the time,” he said.

Fitzpatrick, in his praise of the All Blacks, noted they had not missed a beat despite losing 800 caps worth of experience – including legends Richie McCaw and Dan Carter – after winning the World Cup last year.

“This team has taken rugby to a new level,” he said.

“They put a line in the sand after the World Cup last year, lost all that experience, seamlessly have gone into this team and created their own identity.”

All Blacks captain Kieran Read said he felt for some time that his side were capable of delivering a special performance.

“We came close in a few matches last year without ever quite getting there,” he said.

“To come to South Africa and achieve a victory like that was amazing. We cannot help but be excited by our performance. “The All Blacks are a great bunch of men and I am privileged to be leading them. I am loving the way we are playing right now.”

After hosting Australia, the world champions set off on a four-match November tour, starting with a test against Ireland in neutral Chicago.

They will also face Italy, Ireland and France, raising the possibility of a 22-match winning streak by the end of the year.

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