Cape Town - Former Springbok assistant coach Brendan Venter says there is “nothing exceptional” about the current All Blacks team.
Venter expressed his views via a column for the Stuff.co.nz website following New Zealand’s 16-9 defeat to Ireland in Dublin last weekend.
It was Ireland’s first win over the All Blacks in Dublin - and only their second in history - but Venter said he felt the Irish were favourites to win.
“Whenever I coached against and analysed the All Blacks, you couldn't put your finger on what they do but the bottom line was that they just did everything better than everybody else. What has happened now is that they are not doing everything better - all departments are a bit off - and in the process they have become like any other team.
“The point is that nothing is exceptional anymore with the All Blacks. Their ball is not as quick as it used to be, their set-piece and kicking game isn't firing, their defence is not as strong as it was and their attack is not as penetrative, which was underlined by the fact that Ireland kept them tryless,” Venter wrote.
The All Blacks also lost 36-34 at home to the Springboks in the Rugby Championship earlier this year and had to overcome a 30-13 deficit before sneaking a 32-30 win in the return game in Pretoria.
Before the loss to Ireland, the All Blacks narrowly edged England 16-15 at Twickenham, having trailed 15-0 in the first half.
“There is no way you can examine the All Blacks' current lapse of form and debate it away. Over the last six months, the All Blacks have definitely stuttered,” Venter, who played 17 Tests for the Springboks between 1994 and 1999, added.
READ Brendan Venter’s full column on the Stuff.co.nz website