New Zealand equalled the record of 17 consecutive Test wins when they beat England 36-13 in Hamilton on Saturday, writes SIMON BORCHARDT.
The world champions will have the chance to break the record held by the All Blacks of 1965-69 and the Springboks of 1997-98 when they meet the Wallabies in Sydney on 16 August.
Saturday's convincing win also gave New Zealand a 3-0 series 'blackwash' over England, following hard-fought 20-15 and 28-27 wins in Auckland and Dunedin.
Freddie Burns had impressed at flyhalf for an understrength England in that first Test, but he made a poor start to the third with his kick-off only going 9m and his first penalty goal attempt missing the mark.
The All Blacks then opened the scoring in the fourth minute when Aaron Smith bumped off Chris Ashton and passed to Ben Smith, who put Julian Savea away in the left corner. Cruden's conversion hit the upright.
Burns made no mistake with his second penalty attempt, from right in front, but the All Blacks responded with a second try from Savea after a good break and pass from Cruden, who then added the extras.
The All Blacks continued to attack, with a forward pass from Smith denying Savea a 14th-minute hat-trick, before Cruden and Burns exchanged penalties to make it 15-6.
England were then reduced to 14 men when Billy Vunipola was harshly yellow carded for a high tackle on Cruden, and the All Blacks scored a third try, via Aaron Smith, while he was off. No sooner had Vunipola returned to the field than Ben Smith threw a dummy, cut back inside and put Aaron Smith over again.
It looked as if the All Blacks would go on to score 50-60 points, but it was England who dominated the second half, with Marland Yarde getting over for an early try after Manu Tuilagi had come close.
New Zealand were never in danger of losing, though, with coach Steve Hansen opting to give Beauden Barrett 35 minutes at flyhalf and emptying his bench as the half progressed.
One of those replacements, Wyatt Crockett, paid the price for a string of All Blacks scrum penalties when he was yellow carded in the 73rd minute, but that didn't prevent Savea from scoring his third try, and his side's fifth, after the full-time hooter.
All Blacks – Tries: Julian Savea (3), Aaron Smith (2). Conversions: Aaron Cruden (3), Beauden Barrett. Penalty: Cruden.
England – Try: Marland Yarde. Conversion: Freddie Burns. Penalties: Burns (2).
All Blacks – 15 Ben Smith, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Subs: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Liam Messam, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Ryan Crotty.
England – 15 Mike Brown, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Marland Yarde, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Chris Robshaw (c), 6 Tom Wood, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Courtney Lawes, 3 David Wilson, 2 Dylan Hartley, 1 Joe Marler.
Subs: 16 Rob Webber, 17 Matt Mullan, 18 Kieran Brookes, 19 Joe Launchbury, 20 Ben Morgan, 21 Lee Dickson, 22 Danny Cipriani, 23 Luther Burrell.
LEATHERMAN PLAYER OF THE MATCH
Julian Savea scored two early tries and one after the full-time hooter for a hat-trick that takes his Test record to 23 tries in 22 matches.
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