How do England compare to fellow wins record-holders New Zealand?
Eddie Jones has transformed England since taking over from Stuart Lancaster.
England equalled New Zealand’s world record 18-match winning run for top-level Test teams when they beat Scotland on Saturday to clinch the RBS 6 Nations title.
Here, Press Association Sport compares the merits of the two sides’ winning streaks.
England’s run has stretched since their final game of the 2015 World Cup under Stuart Lancaster, when they hammered Uruguay 60-3. His successor Eddie Jones has seen off his native Australia four times in England’s stand-out performances of recent years. They can also boast a Six Nations grand slam in 2016 and are a win over Ireland short of another, while the run includes a third win over Wales, one apiece against New Zealand’s Rugby Championship foes South Africa and Argentina and a 58-15 dismissal of Fiji. Australia were also New Zealand’s most common victims in their winning run which stretched from August 2015 to October 2016, the All Blacks impressively winning five Bledisloe Cup matches in the sequence of 18 and all by a margin of at least 17 points. South Africa and Argentina were vanquished three times apiece, as were Wales, with France hammered 62-13 and World Cup opponents Namibia, Georgia and Tonga providing the only lower-level opposition.
New Zealand scored around a touchdown more per game, averaging 41.72 points to England’s 34.50 during their respective winning runs. Granted, that included 58 against Namibia and 40-plus against Georgia and Tonga, but they also scored 57 against both South Africa and Argentina and twice topped 40 against the Wallabies as well as the 62-13 rout of France. Prior to Saturday’s 61-21 hammering of Scotland, England’s major point hauls were against Uruguay and Fiji but they did score freely on last year’s tour of Australia, amassing 39, 23 and 44 in the three Tests.
That tour also demonstrated a possible vulnerability when England look to attack the world’s best, however – the final Test was a wild 44-40 shoot-out and Australia also scored 28 in the opener. Otherwise, though, they have conceded 10 points or fewer on five occasions – including the second Test against Australia, a 23-7 win – and held all of their other opponents to 21 at most. It comes to an average of 16.67 points conceded per game, almost a penalty worse than New Zealand’s 14.06. Only three times did the All Blacks concede more than 20 points in a game – twice against Wales, beating them 39-21 and 36-22, and in the 57-22 rout of Argentina. That puts in context just how impressive Ireland’s achievement was in winning 40-29 in Chicago to end the run, and it is Joe Schmidt’s side who stand in England’s way on Saturday as they bid for a new record.
England’s winning run has brought them two Six Nations titles and left them on the brink of back-to-back grand slams, a perfect start in the role for Jones. That it grew out of the disappointment of a failed World Cup campaign in a tournament won by New Zealand, though, gives the All Blacks the edge once again and they added last year’s Rugby Championship title for good measure.
England’s run has taken them second in the world rankings with 91.02 points. New Zealand, who have been top of the rankings since late 2009, are currently on 94.78 and reached 96.57 before their defeat to Ireland.
Impressive as England’s run may be, the available statistics put New Zealand ahead. There is no imminent opportunity to see the comparison played out on the pitch but England can strengthen their claim if they extend their run to a new record against Ireland, in the process picking up a second successive slam.