Lions 'vaporised' All Blacks' invincibility

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    17 Jul 2017     Getty Images

That's the view of Nick Cain in The Rugby Paper, who said the 'superman myth' around the All Blacks had been dismantled as a result of the drawn series.

"That does not mean that New Zealand's claim to being the strongest team on the world stage is redundant, and it is certainly not part of a thesis that the All Blacks have suddenly been transformed from double world champions to no-hopers simply because they lost a Test to the Lions and drew another.

"However, what it has done is reveal that the All Blacks are mortals, with the same fault-lines as any other team when they are put under pressure," Cain said.

The Lions, by their actions, had given other rugby nations 'hope', one of the most powerful weapons in sport, and as a result of this he claimed between now and the 2019 Rugby World Cup, Six Nations sides would face the All Blacks with renewed confidence.

"What all New Zealand's opponents will have in common is knowing that in the space of seven weeks a scratch team drawn in the end from three nations rather than four – because no Scots played in the Test series – came so close to beating them on their own soil," he said.

The Lions were not helped by the fact that their gruelling tour came after a marathon 11-month season while the New Zealanders were so used to playing with one another that any claims they lacked time playing together could be ruled out, Cain claimed.

While England's players would fare best as a result of their exposure to the All Blacks, when next the sides meet in London in 2018, they still had plenty of work to do about their individual games under coach Eddie Jones' charge.

"If this sounds like nitpicking, the one thing that the returning Lions know is that New Zealand see the draw as a defeat – and Steve Hansen will be cracking the whip to find a new edge after becoming only the second All Black coach not to win against the tourists," he said.