- Ask Steven
Undefeated All BlacksJohn GriffithsAugust 22, 2014
So the All Blacks lost their chance of establishing a world record winning Test run, but what's the world record for an unbeaten Test run? asked John Davies from Wales
The All Blacks' run of 17 winning Tests equalled the Tier One Test record of their compatriots of the late 1960s and the Springboks of the late 1990s.
The record for the longest unbeaten Test run among the top nations is also held by New Zealand. From the start of the 1987 Rugby World Cup campaign they went 23 Tests without defeat. The only blot on their copybook was a 19-19 draw against Australia at Ballymore, Brisbane in 1988 (the 11th Test in their run).
The Wallabies ended New Zealand's dominance with a 21-9 victory in Wellington in the third Test of the 1990 Bledisloe Cup series. The year later, of course, they took the RWC from them, winning 16-6 against the All Blacks in a famous semi-final at Lansdowne Road, Dublin.
David Kirk led the All Blacks in the first seven matches of the unbeaten run (in 1987, including the RWC triumph). Wayne Shelford was then at the helm for 14 games before losing his No 8 place to Zinzan Brooke and handing over the captaincy to Gary Whetton for the 1990 home series with the Wallabies.
The next best unbeaten run among the Tier One nations is 20: by the All Blacks between 2011 and 2012. Their tilt at the record for successive wins on that occasion was also spoiled by a draw against Australia -18-all in Brisbane in October 2012 - before three more wins were followed by a thumping defeat by England at Twickenham in December of that year.
John Griffiths is a widely respected rugby historian and is the author of several sports books, a regular contributor to the Daily Telegraph and co-author of the IRB International Rugby Yearbook. He has provided insight for Scrum.com since 1999.