All Blacks eye historic victory in Durban


New Zealand travel to Durban in the Rugby Championship on Saturday fully aware victory would see them claim a share of the world record for consecutive Test wins, says Steve Hansen.

The All Blacks have dominated this year's competition with five wins out of five forming part of a run that has seen them record 16 triumphs in a row, one short of a record held by themselves and the Springboks.

New Zealand have been unbeaten in 17 matches on two previous occasions - most recently in 2014 - while the Boks achieved the feat from 1997 to 1998.

Rather than look to reduce the pressure on his side, Hansen embraced the challenge as they look to finish off their campaign in style.

He said: "It's like everything else, if you try to avoid it, it creates more pressure so if you do talk about it and embrace it, it then becomes a challenge. Whether you are successful or not is irrelevant - that's the outcome but it is certainly something that motivates this group. 

"They want to be seen as a team that are a great All Blacks side and to be a great All Blacks side you have to do things that other teams haven't done."

Flanker Matt Todd will start in the pack ahead of Ardie Savea, while there will need to be a change at half-back with Aaron Smith out due to a suspension for breaching team standards.

"We really love playing South Africa," Hansen added. "We've got a good relationship with them off the park - that's been built over a number of years. We've got a lot of respect for them.

"They're a team that we know are capable of beating us and that in itself brings your backside from the back of the seat to the front of it and having to play after what is massive travel just to get here is a challenge in itself."

The Boks have endured a mixed tournament this year with successive defeats to Argentina, Australia and the All Blacks marring the middle of the campaign.

An 18-10 win over the Wallabies last time out moved them back into second place behind the Kiwis, but they have made two changes for the final clash at Kings Park Stadium with Faf de Klerk and Damian de Allende coming in for Rudy Paige (concussion) and Jesse Kriel (groin).

"The All Blacks will be a huge Test, they are number one side in the world and they have great form at the moment," said coach Allister Coetzee.

"We are playing at home and the boys are looking forward to the encounter against the world's best team.

"It is important for us to end the campaign with a good performance against a very good All Blacks side.

"What I would like to see is that that we keep on improving as a team and build on our continuity and converting more of our opportunities into points."


Key Opta stats:
- The All Blacks have won eight of their last nine matches against South Africa.
- South Africa have enjoyed less possession than any other side this year, a total of just 1 hour, 10 minutes and 24 seconds over their five games so far (14 minutes and 5 seconds per game).
- The All Blacks have already scored 205 points and 29 tries in this tournament, both record tallies in a single Rugby Championship/Tri Nations campaign.
- No player has won more turnovers than Francois Louw in the 2016 Rugby Championship (7, same as Michael Hooper and Agustin Creevy), more than twice as many as any New Zealand player (Sam Cane, Ardie Savea and Brodie Retallick have all won 3 each).