The Reuters global sports blog
There were reverses, notably at the hands of Wales in 1905, 1935 and 1953, three of the first four games between the two small rugby-mad nations. But the win-loss ratio remained overwhelmingly in favour of the All Blacks, whose distinctive all-black uniform and pre-match haka (Maori war dance) enhanced their special aura.
Familiarity, the curse of modern sport with its perpetually swelling fixture lists, has inevitably diluted the appeal of the All Blacks who now visit Europe once a year along with the other southern hemisphere nations.
There are, though, more fundamental reasons for querying a common assumption that the All Blacks are the once and future kings of world rugby.