Well travelled former New Zealand international Tom Taylor believes that other countries have overtaken the All Blacks and is concerned about their 2023 Rugby World Cup chances.
After claiming the 2011 and 2015 World Cups, New Zealand’s decline began in 2017 and they were convincingly knocked out of the 2019 global tournament by England.
Ian Foster took charge following that disappointing result but, if anything, they have gone backwards and last year suffered their worst campaign since 2009.
He is currently featuring for Toshiba Brave Lupus in Japan and the 33-year-old believes that, having experienced first hand what other countries are doing, New Zealand have fallen behind.
The improvement of France
“People are starting to say France has just come out of nowhere, and they’re playing great rugby,” Taylor told Stuff. “But for me, I noticed that change three years ago.
“I noticed that French competition was getting stronger. When I was over there, I could see the development and see how they were improving year, by year, by year.
“It’s difficult because I feel like New Zealand…it almost feels like a younger competition.
“Personally, I feel like we’re going a little bit backwards. We’re losing our talent too soon. You know, some of that some of that talent is really excelling overseas and in European competitions.
“Some of the best players in the teams are Kiwi guys that maybe didn’t get their shot, or left early.”
New Zealand rugby have often been the game’s great innovators but that has not been the case over recent times.
There has almost been a stubbornness to how the All Blacks have approached their recent Test matches and Taylor insists that they need to change.
“It’s been difficult, I think, to put it bluntly. It’s been a bit of a difficult period, they haven’t been as dominant as I’m sure they would have liked.
“But sometimes that’s good because it can breed a bit of change. They need to do things differently, they can’t just rely on what they used to do.
“They’ve maybe got to be a bit more innovative, try something new, and try new tactics, some new game plans, because the same old thing isn’t working any more.
“The All Blacks have always prided themselves on being at the top of their game and trying new things. So, I think it’ll be an interesting season coming up for them this year…and I’m sure they will be behind the scenes working furiously.”
Taylor has also added his voice to those concerned by the departure of the South African teams from Super Rugby.
The Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers are now playing in the northern hemisphere-based United Rugby Championship and leaves New Zealand and Australia without one of their greatest rivals.
“I do have my questions,” he added. “Is losing the South African teams to the northern hemisphere, is that having some effect?
“I feel like we’ve just consistently been playing New Zealand team versus New Zealand team over and over again and, for me, you develop a lot playing different styles of rugby.
“Kiwi teams playing Kiwi teams is often a great game, but is that going to benefit them in the future? I’m not so sure.”
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The article All Blacks: New Zealand rugby is ‘going backwards’ appeared first on Planetrugby.com.