Why All Blacks' rivals should be scared
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Springbok attack coach and Lions head coach Zacharia de Bruin believes that the All Blacks are still the best team in the world leading up to the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.
The All Blacks’ armour was dented in 2018 when they lost 34-36 to South Africa in New Zealand for the first time in nine years.
The ‘invincible’ All Blacks escaped with a narrow 32-30 victory over the Springboks at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria in October and they beat England 16-15 at Twickenham in November before going down to Ireland 9-16 in Dublin.
The World Cup kicks off in just over eight months. However, there is plenty of rugby still to play before the global spectacle gets underway with the Six Nations and Super Rugby both kicking off in February.
Looking ahead to the Super Rugby season and the World Cup, De Bruin told reporters in Johannesburg that he expects the All Blacks to show their experience and be an even more dangerous prospect leading up to the World Cup.
“I honestly believe what happened with us against the All Blacks last year was not the true reflection.
“They still number one, they’ve got their plans I don’t think we must get rolled into a false sense of security,” De Bruin commented.
De Bruin further added that the three-time world champions will not lose their aura because of two defeats in 2018 and he expects them to bounce back from the pain of defeat.
“The All Blacks beat most sides normally so they will still be number one contenders.
“They want that monkey off them so that the pressure is not so much on them, but let’s face it they will still be the favourites for the World Cup,” added De Bruin.
The Springboks next play New Zealand in a Rugby Championship clash at Westpac Stadium in Wellington in July before they do battle again in their opening game of the World Cup in September.
By Josh Isaacson
RugbyPass has created a next-generation rugby rating system, based on machine learning and shaped by game-winning moments. The system (RPI) is a world first for its complexity and comprehensive embrace of northern and southern hemisphere players and teams. By using in-depth data analysis, RPI determines exactly what it takes to win, in real time. Explore the RPI now!