James Mortimer 19.Nov.2012Getty Images
The All Blacks have kept that tag, cementing their World Cup success with victory in The Investec Rugby Championship, marching through tests with the Springboks, Wallabies and Pumas undefeated – with their only ‘blemish’ this season being the 18-18 draw with Australia in Brisbane.
While the goal of chasing down the most consecutive victories will have to wait another day, the All Blacks still sit on a run of 19 matches unbeaten, hunting down the record set by their 1987 World Cup winning counterparts, who went 23 matches with having their colours lowered.
For the World Champions to achieve this, they would need to defeat Wales and England in their final matches, and get an early 2-0 lead over France in next season’s Steinlager Series.
These All Blacks may never talk about such distant markers, but a side that prides itself on its records would have this mark in the back of their heads.
New Zealand will also defend another record in Cardiff, looking to maintain a 59-year winning record against Wales which now stands at 24 consecutive matches.
It is the longest winning sequence in any rugby head-to-head where each of the sides has tasted victory at least once.
Wales are looking at avoiding six straight losses, wanted to avoid the losing mark set in 2003, where current All Blacks coach Steve Hansen oversaw a losing drought which he turned around with five straight wins and a sparkling 53-37 loss to New Zealand in the pool stages.
To this date that score represents the fourth highest tally of points ever put on the All Blacks.
Such statistics might point to an All Blacks win, but Welsh captain Sam Warburton felt that the situation was setting up a classic sporting scenario.
"I guess there is no pressure on us now because nobody will expect anything next Saturday," Warburton said.
"We are going to see who turns up on the day. That is sport, that is why there are underdogs, and underdogs can beat the favourites. If it (rugby) was very predictable, nobody would watch it. There is every chance we can win next Saturday, I definitely believe that.”
"You have to believe that in every game you go into, but whether people think that is realistic or not is up to them. But I have approached every game believing we can win it.