• ‘All Blacks should not panic’

    Former All Blacks flyhalf Nick Evans believes New Zealand are still the best side in the world, despite their loss to Ireland last weekend.

    The 16-9 defeat in Dublin was the All Blacks’ second of the year, having lost to the Springboks in Wellington. They were also pushed close by the Boks at Loftus and England at Twickenham.

    Steve Hansen hailed the Irish as the best team in the world following his side’s defeat, but Evans, who played for the All Blacks between 2004 and 2007, wrote in his column for The Guardian that he disagrees with the New Zealand coach.

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    ‘Regardless of what Steve Hansen says, New Zealand are still the best team in the world, and they are the favourites for next year’s World Cup. Yes, the gap has been closed a significant amount, but the big question is whether the All Blacks should be panicking now, and I still think the answer is no.

    ‘All credit to Ireland, they deserved their fantastic victory and they are being widely congratulated and rightly so, but I wonder if it does prove to be such a good thing for the world of rugby for the simple reason that the All Blacks are going to get better because of it.’

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