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England may get record, but All Blacks the gold standard

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    08 Mar 2017     Getty Images

The Times has made the point that the All Blacks' winning streak not only included a Rugby World Cup final but was achieved by two different teams. There was the experienced side that won the World Cup and the team that seamlessly took over after eight key retirements.

It also pointed out that in the All Blacks' streak they had scored 5.7 tries per game as opposed to England's 3.8 while conceding one try to England's 1.6.

The average world ranking of New Zealand's opponents was 6.66 compared to 7.41 for England while the All Blacks had also won 10 of their 18 games away from home while England have won seven of their 17 away from Twickenham.

The Times also made the point: "The most impressive record standing in international rugby is surely not the 18-game winning streak but the number of home games that the All Blacks have won on the trot: 45.

"That dates back seven and a half years, when South Africa beat them in Hamilton by three points."

Bookmakers in Britain are offering odds of England going unbeaten until the World Cup in Tokyo in 2019 at 5-1, which includes beating the All Blacks when the sides are to meet in 2018.

The only player to have appeared in each of England's 17 wins prop Dan Cole said the record had not been openly discussed by the players or caused them to pat themselves on the back. They were involved in the Six Nations where it was all about the next game.

However, he did say being on a roll of success was a good feeling especially after the World Cup disaster which saw England tipped out of their own tournament before the quarter-finals.

The Times said another way of expressing the value of victory in international rugby was, "New Zealand remain the gold standard. England can carry on beating all-comers, but only by beating them do you win ultimate respect."

Meanwhile, former British and Irish Lion and England first five-eighths Stuart Barnes said in his Sky Sport column that after watching the Highlanders-Crusaders game at the weekend, where Aaron Smith was 'back near his brilliant best' that "if anyone wants to understand how difficult this forthcoming tour will be for the Lions I would recommend a re-watch of this match.

"There were a few errors, yes, but the speed and ambition was something to behold. Basketball rugby this was not. At the moment there's New Zealand rugby and the rest."

Barnes added that after seeing Chiefs fullback Damien McKenzie and Hurricanes fullback Nehe Milner-Skudder return with a hat-trick it was evident that when combined with Aaron Smith's efforts that 'all the talk that rugby is now a big man's game comes across as small and stupid talk'.