One win from a world record 18th straight Test match victory, the 2016 All Blacks have been hailed as the best team in the professional era.
According to former Scotland and British and Irish Lions player and coach, Sir Ian McGeechan, Kieran Read’s men were “certainly better” than the 2005 side that destroyed the Lions and they have just evolved since winning the World Cup last year.
What impresses McGeechan is the way the success had been achieved since the departure of legends such as Richie McCaw, Dan Carter, Ma’a Nonu and Conrad Smith.
The Scot says: “Their game has just continued to evolve, mainly because, I think, head coach Steve Hansen has not imposed a pattern upon them.”
While there was a core of players who had been in the side for some time, Hansen had allowed newcomers to add their respective strengths to the All Black game.
McGeechan adds: “It is not a case of these players fitting in, rather it is the group that is already there reacting to the new qualities being introduced. And what that does is make the side harder to read for the opposition.
McGeechan said star flyhalf Beauden Barrett has made a
massive impact since coming in and his ability to create space and attack was remarkable as the All Blacks have just been relentless on attack.
He says: “And the key is that the All Blacks keep coming at you… There is simply no let-up.
“They have never scored enough. That has always been the case with New Zealand rugby, even since I played against them. To have even a sniff of beating them you have to understand that sort of mentality.”
The All Blacks play Australia in Auckland this Saturday with a shot at making history (9.35am).