21 Oct 2016

History could be made in final Bledisloe test

8:13 pm on 21 October 2016

Faced with the possibility of securing a record 18th consecutive Test victory, the All Blacks found themselves with two choices.

Both teams will be hoping for a victory to celebrate and the chance to bring the cup home.

One of these teams will make history tomorrow night. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

They could ignore the elephant in the room, or they could embrace it.

And unlike previous years, they've chosen the latter.

The world champions will take on Australia at Eden Park tomorrow night, chasing an unprecedented 18 consecutive test wins for a top tier nation.

It's the only mountain they're yet to conquer, and coach Steve Hansen believes it's vital they embrace the world record attempt.

New Zealand have been in this position before, having blown opportunities to clinch their 18th win in 1969 and 2014.

On that occasion, preceding a dour 12-all draw with the Wallabies in Sydney, the side shied away from discussing the potential milestone.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Hansen said that mistake wouldn't be repeated this time around, with last year's World Cup a source of inspiration.

"We've chosen to say, yes, it's an opportunity, it's right there in front of us so what are we going to do about it?" Hansen told reporters.

Hooker Dane Coles verified his coach's remarks, saying this All Blacks side was much more aware of their potential to create history.

Dane Coles sees off Adam Ashley Cooper.

Dane Coles sees off Adam Ashley Cooper. Photo: Photosport

"This year we've embraced it and we're aware of it, but we're not getting too carried away," the Hurricanes skipper said.

While the All Blacks are chasing history, the Wallabies are fighting it.

They haven't won in Auckland in 30 years, losing 16 times since their last triumph in 1986.

Coach Michael Cheika said they have to accept the challenge of playing the World Champions at their Eden Park fortress.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

"It's obviously proven to be a tough place for us to go and play but I'm old fashioned.

"I look forward to it. Bring it on. It's a great opportunity. It's going to be a tough environment but that's where you want to be if you don't want to be there in those games where do you want to be in footy?

"It's no good it being comfortable and rosy when it's tough is when you've got to stand up."

No Wallabies team has ever suffered two 3-0 series drubbings in a single season, but that's exactly the record the current side will have if they lose tomorrow night.

 Israel Folau of the Wallabies.

Israel Folau of the Wallabies. Photo: Getty

While the Wallabies remain bullish about their chances, current form and the bookmakers give them almost no hope, with New Zealand paying just $1.05 to win with Australia a $10 long shot.

Even the ever diplomatic former All Blacks captain Richie McCaw believes the Wallabies will need a miracle.

"There's very little between the top teams and you've only got to turn up just not quite on your game and look at the comments from the Wallabies coaches and that this week they're pretty damn determined so if the All Black boys aren't on the job there's a chance, but I hope not," McCaw said.

Tomorrow night will mark another milestone when the New Zealand women's team the Black Ferns take on the Wallaroos for the first ever men's and women's double header at Eden Park.

New Zealand sevens player Portia Woodman.

Rio sevens silver medallist New Zealand's Portia Woodman is in the Black Ferns side. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Australian skipper Ash Hewson is warning her players it will be like nothing they've experienced before.

"Couple of the girls have been to several world cups but to play at Eden Park against the best team in the world, especially before the boys is going to be a pretty amazing experience."

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika believes it's about time the women were given the respect they deserve.

"I just think it's normal, that we should always play a double header because I feel like it's a natural progression for the game that these two types of events would happen. The girls who are contributing more and more in to their craft are getting recognition by getting the opportunity to play on the big stages."

The women's teams will be chasing history also, with Australia seeking their first ever win over New Zealand and the Black Ferns defending their 13 test unbeaten streak against the Wallaroos.

-RNZ