England matched their best ever unbeaten run last Saturday when they defeated the Wallabies at Twickenham.
A lesser known record is that they became only the 4th country to finish a calendar year unbeaten – the first since the Springboks back in 1995.
The others are –
All Blacks 1997
All Blacks 2013
The All Blacks also hold the record for the longest winning streak – now set at 18.
In terms of unbeaten (tier 1) teams, this also goes to the All Blacks who went 23 matches from the start of the 1987 World cup – the only blot being a draw with Australia in 1988 (the 11th match of their run).
The next best unbeaten run among the Tier One nations is 20: also by the All Blacks between 2011 and 2012. 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 memorable defeat by England at Twickenham in December of that year.
Outside Tier 1 nations, Cyprus actually had 24 winning games on the trot, Lithuania 17 and Namibia 14.
|Team||Mat||Start Date||Opposition||Ground||End Date||Opposition||Ground|
|Cyprus||24||29 Nov 2008||v Azerbaijan||Baku||1 Nov 2014||v Andorra||Paphos|
|New Zealand||18||15 Aug 2015||v Australia||Auckland||22 Oct 2016||v Australia||Auckland|
|New Zealand||17||18 Sep 1965||v South Africa||Auckland||14 Jun 1969||v Wales||Auckland|
|South Africa||17||23 Aug 1997||v Australia||Pretoria||28 Nov 1998||v Ireland||Lansdowne Road|
|Lithuania||17||28 Oct 2006||v Norway||Vilnius||24 Apr 2010||v Serbia & Mon||Pancevo|
|New Zealand||17||8 Jun 2013||v France||Auckland||21 Jun 2014||v England||Hamilton|
|New Zealand||16||9 Sep 2011||v Tonga||Auckland||6 Oct 2012||v South Africa||Johannesburg|
|South Africa||15||8 Oct 1994||v Argentina||Port Elizabeth||2 Jul 1996||v Fiji||Pretoria|
|New Zealand||15||13 Aug 2005||v Australia||Sydney||26 Aug 2006||v South Africa||Pretoria|
|New Zealand||15||19 Sep 2009||v Australia||Wellington||11 Sep 2010||v Australia||Sydney|
|Namibia||14||21 Jul 1990||v West Germany||Windhoek||16 May 1992||v Zimbabwe||Windhoek|
|England||14||23 Mar 2002||v Wales||Twickenham||23 Aug 2003||v Wales||Millennium Stadium|
|England||14*||10 Oct 2015||v Uruguay||Manchester||3 Dec 2016||v Australia||Twickenham|
Of these only the latest England run is current.
The truth is however, whilst records are all well and good there is only one thing that coaches, players and fans really care about now – winning the World Cup.
If that means blooding rookies during the 4 year cycle and losing a few games, then so be it.