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All Blacks on verge of Rugby Championship

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 16/09/2016 Daniel Gilhooly

Another Rugby Championship title is 80 minutes away but the All Blacks aren't getting ahead of themselves.

The red-hot New Zealand side can effectively sew up the title with two rounds to spare if victorious over struggling South Africa in Christchurch on Saturday.

A fourth bonus point win from four games would push the world champions to a virtually uncatchable lead courtesy of their massive points differential.

Even four points from a win will almost certainly be enough for Steve Hansen's team to secure the Rugby Championship for a fourth time in five years since Argentina were introduced.

Including the Tri-Nations, dating back to 1996, New Zealand have claimed 13 titles compared to Australia's four and South Africa's three.

Few seasons have been as dominant as what the All Blacks have produced so far, building on a winning streak which sits at 14 Tests. They are now unbeaten at home for 43 games.

Ryan Crotty celebrates scoring a try. © Getty Images Ryan Crotty celebrates scoring a try.

Their last home loss was to South Africa in 2009 and Hansen has been at pains this week to warn those same opponents pose a threat.

"Whilst we've had a good run of victories of late, there isn't much in it," he said.

"History tells us, regardless of what either nation's been doing prior to a Test match between each other, the game is always tight and tough and both teams have got a heck of a lot of pride."

It may require more than pride for the visitors to end a losing drought in Christchurch which dates back to 1965.

Losses on the road to Argentina and Australia and a lack of any attacking panache have been greeted by waves of criticism in South Africa.

Springboks flanker Francois Louw can see why his team have been given next to no hope of toppling the world champions.

"Of course, based on form you'd say no. It's been a tough season for us," he said.

"A couple of games we've let slip and we've been harsh on ourselves looking at why and how that happened.

"There's no doubt that when we do get it right, we score good tries. It comes down to being clinical in the right areas of the field."

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