The New Zealand All Blacks confirmed their status as the top rugby union team in the world in 2006, establishing themselves as firm favourites to win the 2007 Rugby World Cup.
They won the Tri-Nations Championship against Australia and South Africa for a record seventh time and also had an excellent year of international results, beating Ireland twice and Argentina in New Zealand, then inflicting a record 41-20 defeat on England at Twickenham in the autumn before twice beating France, one a crushing 47-3 victory in Lyon, and then Wales.
As reflects their dominance, the All Blacks also had a clean sweep of the major rugby awards in 2006. In addition to winning the International Rugby Board Team of the Year Award, Graham Henry was named Coach of the Year and captain Richie McCaw was selected as Player of the Year. In the International Rugby Players' Association awards they also won Team of the Year, captain Richie McCaw also won Player of the Year and Jason Eaton was named Newcomer of the Year.