Venter: Kiwis have raised the bar again

Brendan Venter says New Zealand's Super Rugby franchises have surged even further ahead of the chasing pack this season.

After 11 rounds of Super Rugby, Kiwi teams have won all 17 of their matches against Australian opposition, and nine of their 10 games against South African sides. They have a 93% win record on foreign soil.

'The New Zealand sides have always possessed the ability to attack well,' Venter wrote in his latest column for The Times. 'However, on the evidence of this season, it's clear they have worked tirelessly on their defence and set phases. It has made them even more dominant and eliminated previous chinks in their armour.'

The Bok defence coach said the Crusaders, who have won all 10 of their matches this season, 'have struck the best blend in terms of attack, defence, tactical kicking and set-piece play. Head coach Scott Robertson has created an amazing environment and his charges are playing amazing rugby.

'The Crusaders remain well organised in defence, but they are now unstructured on attack, which adds to their unpredictability and keeps their opponents guessing.'

Venter said South African teams deserved credit for embracing a ball-in-hand approach this season.

'However, in the process of improving our attack, our defence has suffered,' he added.

Full column

Photo: Lee Warren/Getty Images

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