Rugby: New Zealand overcome Australia for record 18th straight win

New Zealand's Julian Savea is tackled by Australia's Samu Kerevi (second from right), Bernard Foley (right) and Israel Folau (bottom) during the third rugby Bledisloe Cup Test between the New Zealand All Blacks and Australia at Eden Park in Auckland
New Zealand's Julian Savea is tackled by Australia's Samu Kerevi (second from right), Bernard Foley (right) and Israel Folau (bottom) during the third rugby Bledisloe Cup Test between the New Zealand All Blacks and Australia at Eden Park in Auckland on Oct 22, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

(REUTERS) - World champions New Zealand were challenged for 50 minutes in the Bledisloe Cup but still ran in six tries to beat 37-10 Australia in Auckland on Saturday (Oct 22) to become the first top-tier nation to win 18 consecutive test matches.

Less than a year after becoming the first nation to win back-to-back World Cups and with a much-changed line-up, Steve Hansen's side bolstered their claim to being the greatest-ever rugby team.

Julian Savea scored two tries as Israel Dagg, Anton Lienert-Brown, TJ Perenara and Dane Coles also crossed to help the 2015-16 All Blacks better the record held by the 2013-2014 and 1965-1969 vintages, as well as the 1997-1998 Springboks.

New Zealand's last defeat was at the hands of the Wallabies in Sydney last year but Australia breaking their 30-year Eden Park hoodoo was always going to be a tall order, even if a try from Rory Arnold was scant consolation for a spirited display.