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The “Big Game” for Men’s rugby in 2017 will occur this Saturday, July 8, in Auckland, New Zealand, when the British and Irish Lions meet the All Blacks for the third, and deciding match in a series tied one win each. The game will be played at Eden Park Stadium where New Zealand have not lost since 1994.
The key question is whether the Lions can achieve two victories to win the tour, a feat they have not duplicated since 1971.
Overall, the All Blacks hold a 24-6-2 record against the Lions, not counting earlier games in the 20th Century against All-Star sides named “Anglo-Welsh” or “Britain.”
Two relevant questions to pose: “How many times have the All Blacks lost two Test matches or more in a row?” and “When was the last year this happened?”
Since their first tour to Great Britain in 1903, the Kiwis have lost two consecutive games or more on fifteen occasions, including a six-match losing streak in 1949. (Four to South Africa and two to Australia). The last time two continuous losses occurred was August 2011 against South Africa and Australia. Since those two losses, the All Blacks went 71-5-2 for a remarkable ninety-two percent win rate.
Finally, since 1903, New Zealand’s Test match totals indicate a 428-108-19 result for a seventy-nine percent winning rate, the highest in the world.
Wisdom, both conventional and historic, predicts an All Black victory.