Never before has there been a darker time in All Blacks’ history.

Certainly not in the lifetime of anyone reading this.

Back-to-back defeats to Ireland on New Zealand soil, a first home series loss in two decades, four out of the last five Tests lost, fourth in the world rankings—it all makes for fairly horrendous reading.

And yet, in four months’ time, there’s a good chance we’ll be sitting here talking about how the All Blacks have strung together 10 wins on the trot, and finished 2022 undefeated.

All Blacks’ Upcoming Fixtures

The All Blacks’ next ten games read as following:

  • South Africa (away)
  • South Africa (away)
  • Argentina (home)
  • Argentina (home)
  • Australia (away)
  • Australia (home)
  • Japan (away)
  • Wales (away)
  • Scotland (away)
  • England (away)

Two big Tests stand out from these ten matches—the next two games against South Africa, and the final Test of the year against England.

Here’s why they’re going to win these.

Fired Up New Zealand Head To South Africa

Let’s face it—if the All Blacks lose their next two matches in South Africa, all hell will break loose.

For sure, Ian Foster loses his job.

Most likely, Cane gets demoted as captain in favor of Ardie Savea.

There’s a good chance a few other heads will roll—Beauden Barrett? Codie Taylor? Sam Whitelock? Senior players will be held to account, if New Zealand make it six losses from seven games.

For this reason, the All Blacks will be more motivated than ever.

Sure, they will have been motivated in the third Test against Ireland recently, which they lost by 10 points. But this time, they will be motivated, and organized.

Six days is not a long time to turn things around, particularly for a team under significant heat. Though disappointing, and uncharacteristic for those who have been following the All Blacks for some time, it’s no surprise that they weren’t able to turn the ship around in such a short period of time last month.

This time, it’s different.

The All Blacks have had the better part of four weeks to prepare for South Africa, with everything on the line. They’ve also had the benefit of leaving New Zealand as a squad, which will help drown out some of the media noise, drawing them tighter together as a team, and making sure that the narrative in players’ minds is the right one.

By no means will it be easy, but two All Blacks’ wins in South Africa is the most logical outcome over the next fortnight.

Building Momentum Against Old Foes

Following these two hard fought wins against South Africa, the All Blacks return home to play consecutive matches against Argentina.

No disrespect to Argentina, but these are two gimmes.

Argentina has never beaten the All Blacks in New Zealand, and though that was the case with Ireland in July, this is a different kettle of fish. Argentina are a decent team, but no match for the All Blacks at home.

Two matches against Australia round out the Rugby Championship, a team that New Zealand has had the number of in recent years. By this stage New Zealand will have strung together four wins, and Foster & Co will be out to retain the Bledisloe Cup to regain some confidence.

Expect New Zealand to be holding the Bledisloe Cup and Rugby Championship in six weeks’ time.

Ending the Year With a Bang

Off the back of six victories in the Rugby Championship, the All Blacks will regroup and head north.

A hit out against Japan will provide a chance for the Kiwis to brush off any cobwebs after their post-Rugby Championship break, with the result never in doubt.

The next two matches against Wales and Scotland away won’t be walkovers, but are also fixtures that a confident All Blacks side will back themselves to put away, given these sides recently lost to South Africa and Argentina, respectively.

Then all that remains is England.

New Zealand fell at this hurdle last year, failing to win their final match of their end of year tour. With England a likely semi-final or final opponent in the Rugby World Cup, the All Blacks will head into this match at Twickenham absolutely aware of what is at stake.

With nine wins under their belt, they will be the perfect combination of confident, but not complacent, and should put away the English side in a tight one.

An All Blacks side on a ten match winning streak, yet with fresh memories of how it feels to lose—now that’s a force to be reckoned with, come the second half of 2023.

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