England are World Cup contenders for next year's Japan tournament, while the All Blacks aren't as far ahead of the rest of the world as they once were, according to England prop Mako Vunipola.
Speaking to the Rugby Paper, Vunipola declared that the All Blacks' aura of invincibility has waned, citing the 16-9 loss to Ireland in Dublin as proof that Steve Hansen's side are beatable.
"The gap is closing with New Zealand, but it's not just about them, you can see how every game internationally between the big teams is a proper contest," Vunipola said.
"That's what you want. New Zealand are still World Cup favourites because they still have that experience of being number one and they're still the team to chase, but England competed well and you can see how Ireland have consistently challenged them.
"Ireland have beaten New Zealand twice in the last couple of years and shown that they are human."