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Wallabies prepare for All Blacks challenge

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

HAMILTON - The party-pooping Wallabies lie in wait for an All Blacks team more determined than ever to have sole ownership of Test rugby's best winning streak.

The 36-13 blitz of England in Hamilton on Saturday was New Zealand's 17th in succession, the equal best for a tier one nation.

It matches the deeds of a great All Blacks era in the late 1960s, along with the Springboks under Nick Mallett in 1997-98.

New Zealand captain Richie McCaw says breaking the record won't be the first thing discussed in the lead-up to the Rugby Championship opener in Sydney on August 16. But it won't be ignored.

"You acknowledge that that's a thing that you're pretty keen to try and achieve.

"It'd be nice to hold it outright. We've been in this situation a couple of times before."

Australia have halted the All Blacks two most recent stabs at the record.

A 15-Test streak ended with a 26-24 loss in Hong Kong in 2010. Two years later an 18-18 result in Brisbane halted 16 straight wins.

The Wallabies are on a seven-Test run themselves following a 3-0 sweep of their home series against France.

McCaw says the All Blacks will need to improve on what they offered against England, particularly in the first two Tests when the tourists pushed them close.

"You come in hoping to carry on from where you were at last year but it never happens like that," he said.

"It's been a couple of weeks to start to feel that again."

England coach Stuart Lancaster says New Zealand's record of having just lost just one of their past 38 Tests was phenomenal, even when measured across all sports.

The All Blacks regularly play teams ranked in the world's top four so don't get an easy ride.

"They have a great blend at the moment of athletic talent and ability, skill set, experience, continuity and consistency," he said.

"We're behind them in all those areas at the moment."


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