All Blacks eye another clean sweep
November 20, 2012
The All Blacks clinched a northern hemisphere Grand Slam following their win over Wales in 2010 © Getty Images
Wales take on New Zealand in Cardiff this weekend with the weight of history still hanging heavy over the fixture.
The hosts have not beaten the All Blacks since Ken Jones and Sid Judd's 1953 heroics and the vintage of 2012 appear to have little chance of replicating those feats after a difficult couple of games. Wales are going into the match with the All Blacks off the back of two defeats at the Millennium Stadium - first to Argentina and then to Samoa. And they will come up against the World Cup holders who last lost back in August 2011.
But while they have failed to defeat the All Blacks for nearly half a century, there have been several close calls for Wales to take heart from along the way, most notably a classic at the 2003 Rugby World Cup, a 26-25 loss back in 2004 and Andy Haden's fabled dive in 1978.
But the fact remains that the All Blacks have also frequently enjoyed themselves, including two wins on their way to Grand Slam tours in the last five years. In 2005 they routed a weakened side 41-3 before Wales' infamous Haka showdown was quelled with a 29-9 victory. And the last meeting between the two sides came back in 2010 where the All Blacks prevailed 37-25.
They're in search of another clean sweep this weekend - with a result either way set to go down in the annals of the game.
Wales v New Zealand all-time record: Played 28, Wales won three, New Zealand won 25
Biggest winning margin: Wal: Five points, 13-8 at National Stadium; NZ: 52 points, 55-3 at Waikato Stadium, 2003
Highest score: Wal: 37 points, 37-53 at Stadium Australia, 2003; NZ: 55 points, 55-3 at Waikato Stadium, 2003
Most tries: Wal: Four, 37-53 at Stadium Australia, 2003; NZ: 10, 52-3 at Lancaster Park, 1988
Longest winning sequence: Wal: Two (1935-1953); NZ: 24 (1963-present)
Most points (individual): Wal: Stephen Jones 89; NZ: Dan Carter 162
Most tries (individual): Wal: Two, Geoffrey Jones; NZ: Eight, John Kirwan
Most points in a Test: Wal: 17, Stephen Jones at Stadium Australia, 2003; NZ: 27, Dan Carter at Carisbrook, 2010
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Huw Richards profiles French forward Walter Spanghero, a man who even rugby's hard men thought was a tough nut
"To be part of the Commonwealth Games, I'd wear anything. I'd wear a clown suit." Tom Hamilton talks to Scotland's Sean Lamont
Scrum Sevens looks back at how rugby has fared in both the early Olympics and the past four Commonwealth Games
"Cheika's been phenomenal. He gives you an incredible level of mental strength." Tom Hamilton talks to Waratahs star Jacques Potgieter