New Zealand chasing record 18th successive Test win
By Tony Tighe and Keith Moore
Last Updated: 19/10/16 12:48pm
New Zealand will break the 59-year-old record of 17 successive tier-one Test victories if they defeat Australia in Saturday's Bledisloe Cup Test in Auckland, live on Sky Sports.
Former All Blacks captain Sean Fitzpatrick hailed the back-to-back World Cup winners as "the best ever" following their nine-try demolition of South Africa on October 8 and they will write their names in the history books with a fifth successive victory over the Wallabies.
That 57-15 victory in Durban saw this New Zealand side become the fourth team to equal the record of 17 Test wins, but can they go on better?
Let's take a look at the other sides who have racked up 17 wins on the bounce.
New Zealand (1965-69)
The first time the All Blacks won 17 consecutive Tests was in the 1960s and it included a 4-0 series whitewash of the British and Irish Lions.
Colin 'Pinetree' Meads, who was named New Zealand player of the century in 1999, partnered brother Stan in the second row as they scored 13 tries in four Tests against a Lions side that included Jim Telfer and Mike Gibson, conceding just four.
The 19-18 victory over Australia in Brisbane on June 22, 1968 broke Wales' 58-year record of 11 victories, and they extended it to 17 with 3-0 and 2-0 series over France and Wales respectively.
The All Blacks' record run began and ended against South Africa, who snapped their streak with a 17-6 win in Pretoria in 1970.
South Africa (1997-98)
In August 1997, South African rugby was at a low ebb, with a series loss to the Lions compounded by three defeats in the opening three fixtures of that year's Tri Nations.
The last of those losses came against New Zealand in Auckland, after which the Springboks bounced back with a 61-22 thrashing of Australia in the final game to kick-start their winning streak.
Their autumn internationals later that year featured a 52-10 win over the French at Parc des Princes, and a 68-10 drubbing of Scotland at Murrayfield two weeks later.
A clean sweep in the following year's June internationals followed, with Wales humbled 96-13 in Pretoria, after which they recorded an unbeaten Tri Nations campaign, including a last-gasp James Dalton try to beat the All Blacks 24-23 at Kings Park.
A week after that win against the All Blacks, the Boks beat the Wallabies in Johannesburg, which put them on 14 consecutive victories. An autumn tour of all four home nations presented the final hurdle to the record.
A tense win over Wales at Wembley was backed up by a more comfortable victory against Scotland at Murrayfield. In the penultimate match of the tour, the Boks beat Ireland at Lansdowne Road, with a try from Munster's current director of rugby Rassie Erasmus helping them along.
But in the final fixture of the tour, South Africa came up against Clive Woodward's England, and they were beaten 13-7 at Twickenham to bring down the curtain on their 16-month winning streak.
New Zealand (2013-14)
The Wallabies find themselves in a familiar position this weekend as it was them who denied New Zealand an 18th successive win two years ago when they drew 12-12 in Sydney in the opening game of the 2014 Rugby Championship.
Stung by the Twickenham defeat to England in November 2012, their first loss in 26 months, Steve Hansen's side responded in typical All Blacks fashion.
They returned to winning ways with a 3-0 series sweep against France the following June before winning all six games, including an incredible 38-27 victory over the Springboks in Ellis Park as they retained the Rugby Championship.
Japan, France, England and Ireland were all defeated in the autumn internationals, although they required a last-minute Ryan Crotty try in Dublin to end the year unbeaten, and they exacted further revenge of England in June 2014 with a 3-0 series win.
But the All Blacks' hopes of a tier-one record 18th win was ended in Sydney on August 16, where Kurtley Beale's 69th-minute penalty earned a share of the spoils in a dour, tryless encounter.
New Zealand did extend their unbeaten streak to 22 games as they completed a hat-trick of Rugby Championship wins, before falling to South Africa in their final game.