Tuesday Aug 31, 2010
New Zealand might have won 14 Tests in a row but captain Richie McCaw says his team has plenty more gas in the tank as they look towards the 2011 World Cup on home soil.
The All Blacks are on a winning streak stretching back to a narrow loss last year to South Africa, with McCaw not worried that they might be peaking too early ahead of next year's tournament.
"We are confident. You only peak when you feel you can't get better," the openside flanker said ahead of his side's final two Bledisloe Cup matches in Sydney on September 11 and Hong Kong in October.
"We are happy with where we are at, but we are not kidding ourselves either.
"We are playing well but we can still get better. There is a lot of potential to do that."
European minnows Lithuania hold the 18-win record established over five years before they slumped by 11 points to Ukraine in May in a qualifier for the World Cup.
To better this mark the All Blacks must defeat Australia in Sydney next month and then in Hong Kong before facing England in London, Scotland in Edinburgh and Ireland in Dublin during a November 'Grand Slam' tour of Europe.
McCaw insisted the record was not the focus, it was simply winning.
"I haven't really thought about it at all," he said.
"We want to win every Test regardless. The record is not something that drives us."
The ultimate aim for New Zealand is to win the World Cup in front of their home fans, an accolade McCaw is desperate to add to his resume, having failed to get his hands on the trophy so far.
"It doesn't get me down," the 29-year-old said about not being on a winning World Cup team.
"I'm hoping to be around next year and that's exciting. I'd love nothing better than to win the World Cup. We realise how hard it will be but we'd all love to do it."
Of more immediate focus is their clash against the Wallabies in Sydney on September 11 and a return match against their arch-enemy in Hong Kong on October 30.
Having already won this year's Tri-Nations title, McCaw pinpointed the Hong Kong Test as crucial to ensure they kick off their tour of Britain on the right foot.
"It is important we build on the Tri-Nations and don't go backwards," he said. "We need to keep improving."