All teams playing catch-up to NZ – Charteris

The focus of debate in international rugby is no longer what northern hemisphere teams need to do to match their southern counterparts, but rather how all countries should tackle the All Blacks, Wales lock Luke Charteris said.

Ireland sent shockwaves through the rugby world 11 days ago went they unexpectedly beat the all-conquering New Zealanders for the first time in 111 years.

The loss ended New Zealand’s 18-match winning streak, the longest ever by a top-tier nation.

“I don’t think you can ever say what any gap between north and south is because it depends who is playing each other,” Charteris said.

“New Zealand are ahead of South Africa and Australia and the task for the world is to catch them up. Ireland have shown that beating New Zealand is doable.”

Charteris  also felt that the gap between tier one and tier two nations was narrowing, highlighting Japan’s unexpected win over South Africa at last year’s Rugby World Cup.

“Teams like Japan, Romania and Georgia are closing the gap,” the 33-year-old said.

“It is good to see so-called establishment teams coming unstuck and the beauty of the World Cup is that you face teams you do not meet very often.”

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