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All Blacks dominance not good for rugby - Henry

Newshub logoNewshub 12/10/2017 Newshub staff

© Provided by MediaWorks NZ Limited Former All Blacks coach Sir Graham Henry believes the gap between New Zealand and the rest of the world is narrowing.

The All Blacks have been sitting atop IRB world rankings for nearly eight years with England, South Africa, Ireland and Australia all in the top five but still miles off catching the All Blacks in the near future.

Speaking to media at the Emirates Airline Rugby Long Lunch, in Dubai, Henry said the gap closing is the best thing for the sport, because if the All Blacks continued to dominate, it would be "boring."

"Possibly, nobody has got the prerogative to be the best in the world forever, and nobody can guarantee continued success," said Henry.

"I don't think the gap is too big, which is what rugby needs. It doesn't need one side that's unbeatable, because that's boring."

The 71-year-old believes that both Australia and South Africa made huge strides in this year's Rugby Champions, despite both teams finishing with two wins, two draws and two losses.

The All Blacks went unbeaten in the Championship, claiming their 15th title in 22 years, but narrow wins over both Australia and South Africa proved both nations are improving under their current structure.

"The World Cup is two years away, and I was pleased to see Australia and South Africa improve a little in this Rugby Championship series, because I think rugby needs competition," Henry added.

© Provided by MediaWorks NZ Limited

"It was pleasing, because Australia and South Africa have fallen away pretty poorly in recent times. Against those two teams in the last two games against the All Blacks, they've been great contests with superb rugby. That's really pleasing.

"It's obvious the culture of the South Africa and Australian teams are becoming stronger and I think that's good for rugby."

He pointed out the All Blacks have changed how rugby has been played with the way they dominated counter-attack rugby.

"I haven't coached in six years, and the game's changed immensely in that time. What the All Blacks have done is been initiators in that change."

"They didn't score a try from their own ball initially against South Africa. They scored off two turnovers and an intercept, whereas South Africa had to build their tries. Their ability to take advantage of opportunities is probably their x factor. And once they see the opportunity, they execute it."

The All Blacks have won the last two Rugby World Cups, and are currently well on track to win their third in two years' time in Japan.

Only one team has the skills and capabilities of stopping that, and it is a team that the All Blacks have not faced since 2014.

"Yeah, for sure, England - they are on a bit of a roll and have lost just one game since Eddie (Jones) has been coach."

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