On the Run

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

Ireland 2009

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.

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