All Blacks' record run hailed

2014-06-22 10:47
Julian Savea (AFP)

Hamilton - New Zealand rugby writers have hailed the All Blacks record-equalling performance to trounce England in the third Test on Saturday, seeing it as a set-back for England's World Cup hopes.

The "muscularity" of the All Blacks forwards was given as much credit as the flair of the backs who scored all five tries and ran England ragged, particularly in the first half.

"As good as it gets" said Fairfax Media, echoing the thoughts of All Blacks coach Steve Hansen, while the Herald on Sunday praised the "well-oiled All Black machine".

The 36-13 victory in Hamilton sealed a clean sweep for the All Blacks in the three-Test series and saw them equal the world record of 17 consecutive wins.

The scorelines in the first two Tests were much closer -- 20-15 in Auckland and 28-27 in Dunedin -- but England acknowledged they never realistically threatened to upset the world champions.

The All Blacks "have a great blend of athletic talent and ability, skill-set, experience and continuity and consistency", England coach Stuart Lancaster said.

"We fought hard for two Tests, we fought hard in the third Test, especially in the second half, but we are a little behind them in all those areas at the moment. For us to win at this level we need to be better."

The way the All Blacks blitzed England with four tries in the first half of the final Test delivered "a psychological blow to the visitors, as these two international powerhouses jockey for pre-World Cup bragging rights", wrote Evan Pegden for Fairfax Media.

"A world record equalled, a sublime first half of attacking rugby and a fine defensive second half -- the All Blacks produced it all."

Herald on Sunday writer Gregor Paul noted the New Zealand tour was part of England's long-range build-up before they host the next World Cup in 15 months and showed "they are a long way from being the team they want to be".

What would worry England was "the muscularity and excellence of the All Blacks pack", Paul wrote.

"England came here with a reasonable expectation that, while they might not be able to match the pace and verve of the All Blacks backs, they would at least smack them around a bit up front. That didn't happen last night -- hasn't happened all series."

However, former All Blacks captain Taine Randell, in a column for, said there were signs of concern for the reigning world champion All Blacks despite the series whitewash.

"The biggest concern for the All Blacks would be that the English team had a better bench," he said.

"Their guys had more impact and it's a concern that they seemed to have more depth."

Read more on:    all blacks  |  julian savea  |  rugby

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