Dan Carter says the remarkable new level of attack being achieved by the All Blacks comes as no surprise to him.

The great All Blacks first-five-eighths said he was "really proud of what the team are achieving", during an interview with Radio Sport's Martin Devlin.

Outside observers may be shocked at how well the All Blacks have coped since Carter and a group of other legends departed following the 2015 World Cup triumph. Carter says it all comes down to smart, long-term planning.

"They are always moving forward and evolving - it was probably a good time to get out when I did," he said, modestly claiming "I'd be out of my depth".

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"Some of the athletes playing at the moment are incredible - I'd prefer to be a spectator at my age (for tests).

"The speed of the All Blacks is exceptional. They have such a dominant set piece they could kill teams with that, but they are attacking the space. It doesn't matter where they are on the field.

"Even five metres out from your line, you attack where the space is, playing with ball in hand. It feels like where rugby is going, it doesn't matter where they are on the field.

"A lot of work has gone into the side, to make sure they are looking and communicating where the space is. The skill set is exceptional.


"It doesn't blow me away to be honest, because that is what was expected. A lot of work had gone on before the 2015 World Cup, to make sure the foundations are in place.

"It's more the environment they've created - it started a decade ago and grown into something so strong.

"A lot of people were surprised, since a lot of test caps had been removed from the environment. But there has been a process in place to grow some of those younger players into leaders. Credit to those young leaders who have stepped up and taken the All Black game to the next level.

"I always knew it was going to happen. I'm still extra proud of what they've achieved. New Zealand rugby is in a very good space."

Reflecting on his own All Black career, Carter said he was fortunate in serving an apprenticeship when Andrew Mehrtens and Carlos Spencer were around.

"They were two world class players but completely different," he said.

"I learnt my trade off two of the best instead of being thrown in there."

Carter seemed accepting of the late-career criticism he faced, saying his own expectations and standards were higher than anything the media or public demanded.

"Credit to the All Black staff who showed a lot of faith in me. They could of picked a quality younger No. 10," said Carter from France, where his playing for Racing Metro.

"I found it quite tough, but they stuck by me and gave me motivation to repay the favour."

When asked about the criticism Beauden Barrett was receiving for his goalkicking and game management, Carter said: "He's still young and maturing. He will only get better.

"He's a gamebreaker - I was fortunate to work alongside him for four years and I knew what he was capable of.

"We've all seen his excellence and he's really stepped up in the last couple of years.

"He's a player who can direct his team around, and team mates look towards him to lead and give them direction. And he creates opportunities because of pure speed."

Carter said he was still enjoying playing.

"I still get out of bed wanting to get better every day," he said.