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Even with Ireland’s autumn win, Northern Hemisphere still playing catch up with All Blacks, says Lawrence Dallaglio

LAWRENCE Dallaglio fears the present battle for Six Nations supremacy has demonstrated that Northern Hemisphere teams are still flagging behind their Southern rivals in the tactical department.

And, he believes, unless one of them can devise a successful Plan B, England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland will fly back home from Japan later this year empty handed.

Dallaglio insists that, having watched the home nations and France in action over the last few weeks, he is left with a feeling of concern and disappointment.

That is especially after the way Eddie Jones’ side were unable to avoid a rapid second half fall from grace at the Principality Stadium.

The World Cup winner, below, claims: “In my eyes, New Zealand are still without doubt the favourites to lift the World Cup… even though they lost to the Irish recently. They have won the last two and are going for an unprecedented third in a row.

“What this Six Nations has highlighted so far is that tactically a lot of the sides are still behind the Southern Hemisphere giants, particularly the All Blacks.

“Wales may be unbeaten but really and truly England should have beaten them if they had the ability to go to Plan B. It was very disappointing that they had no answer for when things started going wrong.”

Aaron Smith
Travel in numbers: New Zealand were the last team to beat Wales in Cardiff in 2017’s autumn international. Photo: Michael Steele/Getty Images

New Zealand were the last team to beat Wales in Cardiff and Dallaglio says for England to have done it a fortnight ago it would have been another huge statement for Eddie Jones’ team in the build up to the World Cup.

“Wales were trying to play too much rugby and getting absolutely thumped by the England defence,” he added. “They then got the hair dryer from Warren Gatland at half-time and changed to kicking the ball and testing England to see if they could play out of their half instead.

“Ireland came unstuck in that first game against an England team which controlled the field position and were able to keep the defensive pressure up for virtually 80 minutes and Ireland could do nothing about changing things.

“But then when England needed to alter their tactical approach in Cardiff they too came unstuck, unable to come up with a Plan B to counter what they Welsh were doing.

“They just kept kicking the ball to Wales and Liam Williams kept catching it. They never changed the way they were thinking or doing things when they needed to switch the way they were playing. That showed me that New Zealand are still favourites to lift the trophy.”

GARY FITZGERALD / Photo: Getty Images

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