Former All Blacks first five-eighths Nick Evans believes that the All Blacks' dominance atop world rugby is closing.
Writing in a column for the Guardian, Evans has labelled the All Blacks as vulnerable, arguing that "it can clearly be said" that their rivals are closing the gap on Steve Hansen's side ahead of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
Evans bases that view on how close England pushed the All Blacks in yesterday's test at Twickenham, losing 16-15 after having a late try disallowed by Television Match Official Marius Jonker.
"England have showed that the All Blacks' rivals are working out where they can be pressurised," writes Evans, noting that England slowed down the All Blacks and forced them onto the back foot.
"New Zealand were forced to rely on individual creativity to get them into the right areas of the field because their tactical kicking was not up to scratch and that will be a concern. Defensively, they also looked vulnerable, as we have seen in recent matches."
"There will also be a wariness about the All Blacks because England were tactically superior on the day."
However, Evans credited Ryan Crotty and Damian McKenzie for playing a big role in saving the game for the All Blacks, with McKenzie's try kick-starting a run which dug the visitors out of a 15-0 hole.
"You have to credit the way the All Blacks fought back just before halftime.
"New Zealand are not a very good wet weather team so grinding out this victory, having got themselves in a hole against a spirited England side, will do wonders for their confidence."
Evans, who played 16 tests for the All Blacks and now coaches at Harlequins, had previously touched on how Hansen's men constantly evolve, in an interview with the Herald last week.
"They've had a few close games recently. They're comeback kings, but they're in a good place.
"You've got to find a way to win. If we were 12 points down with five minutes left, guys here would be a little bit nervous and go into their shells. You don't see that from New Zealand teams, the All Blacks especially. That's something we can definitely learn from up here.
"I think they're trying things; putting themselves under as much pressure as they can. Whether that be how they're training leading up to games or pressing the threshold of where they can actually play the game."
On this front, Evans points to experiments with the lack of kicking in the Rugby Championship, and different attacking shapes.
"It's the time to try things. I know they're coming into a World Cup soon but they've got to be seeing what works and what doesn't to push their game forward."