As much as I immensely respect New Zealand for their history, heritage and the quality of their rugby, why does it feel like they have a divine right over everyone else to seemingly control the world game?

The law changes, the calendar, it seems as though it is all pretty much governed by Steve Hansen and the All Blacks. It should be more of a level playing field, and that comes down to World Rugby. 'Everyone has an equal say' - what rubbish. Especially if you are from a tier two nation.

When you play New Zealand, you have to realise they are only as good as the sum of their parts, and you have to break up those parts. Despite the loss at Twickenham last weekend, I felt England played very well in the opening 20 minutes and definitely shocked the All Blacks, much as South Africa did this year in Wellington.


To beat them, you have to get rid of the myth, the image, the brand and this concept that it is some sort of privilege to play against New Zealand. I do not buy into that idea or the "All Blacks" brand. It should be a privilege to play against every nation.

You can argue that their lofty standing has helped New Zealand with their preparation for next year's World Cup, having played two tests in Japan which England have not been able to do this year and will not do before the tournament starts. It will be of huge benefit to the All Blacks.

The first time I played in Japan was for the Barbarians, and the climate was very different to what we were accustomed to back home. That does give New Zealand a slight advantage.

As for the crucial offside decision against Courtney Lawes last weekend, I want to get this off my chest. More and more, we are seeing referees govern the final five minutes of a test differently to the first five minutes. And it is becoming an increasing problem in games that are finely balanced.

Everybody who was not English was sure Lawes was offside, despite looking at the laws of the game (no pun intended). Except he was clearly onside.

The ball was out of the ruck, meaning there was no offside line because the player at the back, Matt Todd, was not bound. TJ Perenara had picked up the ball. He had already moved it once off the floor.

Admittedly there were many elements for referee Jerome Garces to look at in an instant, which makes his job very difficult. But there was nothing clear and obvious to deny that try.

The ruck, unlike the controversial Owen Farrell tackle the week before, was not 50-50. It was not even 80-20. It was 100 per cent onside.


●Austin Healey played 51 tests for England and two for the British and Irish Lions.