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All Blacks 2016: Year in Review

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After losing a number of experienced players following the 2015 Rugby World Cup, the All Blacks simply picked up where they left off by marching to 13 wins from 14 Tests played across the 2016 season.

Along the way the All Blacks won the Steinlager Series against Wales, regained the Investec Rugby Championship, retained the Freedom and Bledisloe Cups and were named the global team of the year at the Laureus Sports Awards.

Take a look at the highlights and relive some of the key moments from the year that was 2016.

GAME ONE: v Wales, Auckland, June 11
All Blacks 39, Wales 21
The Steinlager Series got off with a bang in front of a sold out crowd at Eden Park in early June. Wales got the better of the All Blacks in the opening 60 minutes and led 18-15 at halftime before the All Blacks powered home in the final quarter.

GAME TWO: v Wales, Wellington, June 18
All Blacks 36, Wales 22
In a similar fashion to the first Test, Wales competed strongly in the first half before the All Blacks superior finishing and fitness brought them home. Wales managed to cross for two late tries to close the gap.

GAME THREE: v Wales, Dunedin, June 25
All Blacks 46, Wales 6
The All Blacks ran away to their most convincing win of the series on the back of a Beauden Barrett masterclass. Starting at first five-eighth for the first time in the series, Barrett bagged 26 points as he continuously found holes in the tiring Welsh defence.

GAME FOUR: v Australia, Sydney, 20 August
All Blacks 42, Australia 8
In a replay of the 2015 Rugby World Cup final, the All Blacks blew Australia away in a flawless first half to lead 32-3. Australia managed to slow the scoring in the second half to prevent receiving their biggest ever loss against the All Blacks.

GAME FIVE: v Australia, Wellington, 27 August
All Blacks 29, Australia 9
It was going to be an uphill task turning around a 42-8 thumping to keep the Bledisloe Cup alive and so it turned out to be as the Wallabies went down 29-9 in Wellington. In a game marked by its feisty nature, Australia battled harder than they did in Sydney but still couldn’t contain an All Blacks side that ran in four tries for a comfortable victory.

GAME SIX: v Argentina, Hamilton, 10 September
All Blacks 57, Argentina 22
Despite the final score line, the All Blacks were given a genuine scare by a physical Argentina side in Hamilton. The Pumas stunned the All Blacks with an early try before Nicolas Sanchez added five penalties to keep the scoreboard ticking. A flurry of late tries blew out the scoreboard for the All Blacks.

GAME SEVEN: v South Africa, Christchurch, 17 September
All Blacks 41, South Africa 13
South Africa came out firing with an early try to Bryan Habana before the All Blacks took complete control in a six-try rout. Halfback Aaron Smith and hooker Dane Coles were the standouts as the All Blacks displayed too much speed and finishing finesse for the Springboks.

GAME EIGHT: v Argentina, Buenos Aires, 2 October
All Blacks 36, Argentina 17
A first half blitz put the All Blacks out to a commanding 29-3 lead at the break before Argentina fought back valiantly in the second half to close the gap to 36-17.

GAME NINE: v South Africa, Durban, 9 October
All Blacks 57, South Africa 15
The All Blacks heaped misery on South Africa in Durban with nine tries to complete one of their most convincing performances of the season. The Springboks couldn’t contain the All Blacks sweeping ball movement and rapid counter attack as Beauden Barrett, Israel Dagg and TJ Perenara all crossed for doubles.

GAME TEN: v Australia, Auckland, 22 October
All Blacks 37, Australia 10
The All Blacks finished their home Test season in imperious fashion with a 37-10 win over Australia to secure the world record for most consecutive Test victories by a tier one nation. It was the All Blacks 18th straight Test win, and one of their most convincing, as six tries were ran into complete a three-nil clean sweep of the Wallabies in 2016.

GAME 11: v Ireland, Chicago, 5 November
All Blacks 29, Ireland 40
The All Blacks winning streak was broken in stunning fashion as Ireland secured their first victory over the All Blacks in 111 years of history between the two sides. Ireland exposed the All Blacks inexperienced lineout and attacked throughout the full 80 minutes to cross for five tries in the historic triumph.

GAME 12: v Italy, Rome, 12 November
All Blacks 68, Italy 10
It was a quick return to form for the All Blacks as they ran in 10 tries to rout Italy 68-10 in Rome. Nineteen year old outside back Rieko Ioane marked his Test debut with a try as the All Blacks put on an attacking masterclass.

GAME 13: v Ireland, Dublin 19 November
All Blacks 21, Ireland 9
In the most anticipated Test of the year, the All Blacks defence won out as Ireland were kept try-less at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium. Ireland tried hard throughout, but lacked the clinical finishing they possessed in Chicago as the All Blacks ran in three tries to avenge the Soldier Field loss.

GAME 14: v France, Paris, 26 November
All Blacks 24, France 19
A late French surge wasn’t quite enough as the All Blacks held onto a tight 24-19 win to make it 13 wins from 14 matches for the 2016 Test season. France wanted to regain some pride following the 62-13 Rugby World Cup quarterfinal thrashing from the All Blacks just one year earlier and did exactly that in one of the most physical matches of the year.

All Blacks 2016 season
Played: 14
Won: 13
Lost: 1
Points scored: 562
Points conceded: 221

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