From personal achievements to special anniversaries, check out the milestones to be celebrated in 2021.
South Africa 100 double
Two significant milestones are set to be celebrated with South Africa in 2021. The first occurs on August 13 with the 100-year anniversary of the first Test played between the sides in Dunedin in 1921. Once South Africa has finished their series against the British and Irish Lions, they will make their way to New Zealand to commemorate the anniversary with a game against the All Blacks at Forsyth Barr Stadium on September 25. In a poetic coincidence, the Test will also be the 100th Test to be played between the great rivals.
Covid-19 robbed Aaron Smith of a chance of bringing up 100 Tests for the All Blacks in 2020 but he should reach the magical mark in 2021. Smith sits on 97 Tests and will become the tenth All Black to play 100 Tests, and the first halfback. Of course, the 32-year-old will need to remain injury free and get the nod from the selectors to reach the magical mark.
Father and Son combinations
If Ethan Blackadder takes the field for the All Blacks against Tonga it will mark the 21st father and son combination to have played for the All Blacks. Todd Blackadder played 13 times for the All Blacks between 1995-2000. The last father and son combination for the All Blacks was Eroni Clarke (1992-98) and Caleb Clarke (2020).
Given that the All Blacks will have at least 14 Test matches in 2021, there are a several players who could bring up 50 Test for the All Blacks this year. They include Anton Lienert Brown (49), Ardie Savea (49) and Scott Barrett (40).
Beauden Barrett will go to 89 Tests for the All Blacks following the opening Test of the year against Tonga. With at least 13 Tests remaining for the All Blacks after the Tonga clash, Beauden Barrett is a chance to bring up 100 Tests. Barrett also sits eighth equal on the All Blacks Test try scoring ladder with 36 Test tries. One more try will draw him level with the great Jonah Lomu on 37 Test tries.
Eden Park unbeaten streak
Since losing 20-23 to France in 1994, the All Blacks have seen off 43 opponents, with only two draws, at Eden Park. With two Tests scheduled for Eden Park in 2021 against Australia (August 7) South Africa (October 2), the All Blacks will be looking to extend their unbeaten run to a remarkable 27 years at the ground.
This year also marks 10 years since the All Blacks won the 2011 Rugby World Cup on home soil and 25 years since they won the first Tri-Nations (now Rugby Championship) and won their first Test series on South African soil in 1996.