(K. Brent Tomer),
THE IRISH were elated, and they had every right to be. Their victory on November 5th against New Zealand, rugby’s perennial overlords, was their first ever, after a winless run of 28 matches lasting 111 years. Aptly, they beat the mighty All Blacks at Chicago’s Soldier Field—where the game was being played in the hope of expanding the sport’s appeal in America—just five days after the Chicago Cubs had ended a 108-year wait of their own by prevailing in baseball’s World Series. But the significance of the result was not simply that the men in green had finally claimed rugby’s most-prized scalp. It was also that they had vanquished the most dominant All Blacks side of all time.
The Kiwis arrived in America on the back of 18 consecutive victories, a new record for a major international team and a streak that had included their triumph in the 2015 World Cup. Yet the length of such runs is not the best way to gauge the ability of a side, since these numbers do not account for the strength of the opposition. The all-time record for consecutive victories belongs to tiny Cyprus, who won 24 consecutive games between 2008 and 2014 against the…Continue reading