RBS Six Nations

Joining the immortals - how England's record-equalling run compares to New Zealand

England matched a record of 18 consecutive tier-one victories set by powerhouses New Zealand with their 61-21 dismantling of Scotland in the Six Nations on Saturday.

The hammering ensured Eddie Jones' men retained the championship and means they can complete back-to-back Grand Slams by beating Ireland in Dublin this weekend.

Victory would also see them better the All Blacks' run, which came to an end against Ireland in November.

But on both lists New Zealand and England have one notable name missing…each other.

So how does England's run rank against the world champions? Using Opta data we take a look…

PROWESS IN ATTACK

England's run started under former head coach Stuart Lancaster with a 60-3 battering of Uruguay in a dead-rubber pool match from their embarrassing home Rugby World Cup group-stage exit.

Since then, England have racked up 621 points at an average of 34.5 per game, but that is a score less than New Zealand, who racked up 751 points at an average of 41.7.

Steve Hansen's men also scored more tries with 104 compared to England's 72 – 5.8 per game as opposed to four.

The All Blacks are also the more dominant victors, with their winning margins averaging at 27.7, while England's is at 17.8.

 

DEFENSIVE SOLIDARITY

Matches are not just won in attack, but in keeping the opposition at bay as well.

And New Zealand also hold the upper hand in this regard. During their run they conceded 253 points and just 18 tries, while England yielded 300 and 31.

On average, the All Blacks gave up just 14.1 points per match and one try, while England's is slightly higher at 16.7 and 1.7.

 

THE OPPOSITION

England's current team may be missing the notable scalp of New Zealand, but some of the world's best have been dispatched during their run.

Indeed, the team they have beaten on most occasions is Australia on four - including a historic 3-0 series whitewash Down Under last June.

The Aussies were also the team to have accounted for the most defeats by New Zealand, who overcame their Bledisloe Cup rivals five times – including the World Cup final.

England's biggest win was their trouncing of Uruguay, while the All Blacks saved that honour for the 62-13 demolition of France in the World Cup quarter-finals.

France almost derailed England's bid in the opening match of this year's Six Nations before Jones' men triumphed 19-16 – their smallest margin of victory under the Australian.

New Zealand won by fewer than 10 points just once during their streak, that coming the 20-18 World Cup semi-final win against South Africa. 

 

KEY PLAYERS

It will be no surprise to see Owen Farrell top the points scorers during England's run at 259. That beats the 144 of New Zealand's Beauden Barrett, although the fly-half was deputy to the great Dan Carter (98) until his retirement after the World Cup final.

No one can better Julian Savea's 15 tries, including a hat-trick in the France rout, although Jonathan Joseph's own treble against Scotland at the weekend means he now has 11 - more than any England player during the run of wins.

Dan Cole has started all 18 matches for England, with Danny Care and George Ford playing a part in every game. No player was in the starting XI for each of New Zealand's wins, although Kieran Read and Ben Smith were involved in all the games.

WHAT THEIR RUNS YIELDED

In truth, Jones and Hansen will admit winning runs count for little if it fails to produce trophies.

England have won the Six Nations twice thanks to their record-equalling effort, but the All Blacks take the edge due to their World Cup win and a Rugby Championship to boot.