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Men - New Zealand rugby scored a rare double when both the Men’s and Women’s sides defeated Australia on the same weekend. The All Blacks notched their 18th straight Tier 1, Test triumph – tying their own record for consecutive victories – with a 32-10 win against the visiting Wallabies. (N.B. Australia have not won at Eden Park, Auckland, since 1986).
The Rugby World Champions continue to roll on against top competition, remaining undefeated since their RWC gold medal win in 2015 in England. The format remained the same, a tight first half, leading by just 8 points, and then, piling on the points in the second half where they outscored Australia 22-3. It may be a combination of fitness and more importantly, talented and fresh reserves who come on with a spurt of energy. Julian Savea had two tries for the victors.
New Zealand increased its number one world ranking, reaching 96.57 points, significantly higher than Australia’s third place ranking at 85.35 (England are positioned second.)
The trivia question is which national rugby team – of any Tier - holds the record for 21 straight Test victories? Answer below.
Women -The Black Ferns routed the Wallaroos 67-3. Fullback Selica Winiata had four scores from the fullback position. World Rugby’s highest placed side at 91.94 outplayed a novice XV (13 new caps) in an 11 try rout over the sixth ranked Australian (79.88). The Black Ferns demonstrated the skill of off-loading for tries coupled with fierce attacking after turnovers.
They led 31-3 at the break, and handed the Wallaroos their worst ever defeat by their traditional rugby neighbors.
Again, with the Women’s Rugby World Cup ten months away, the Black Ferns are the team to beat.
(Cyprus ran in a skein of 21 Test victories. Who knew?)