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Six Nations tactics show European sides 'still behind the southern hemisphere', All Blacks favourites for World Cup says ex-England captain

European sides' inability to tactically adapt in the Six Nations leaves the All Blacks as clear favourites for this year's Rugby World Cup in Japan, according to former England captain Lawrence Dallaglio.

In one of the most evenly contested Six Nations tournaments in recent memory, three teams could possibly lift the trophy this weekend, with Wales, Ireland and England all a chance to take European glory.

However, the fact that no side has cemented themselves as Europe's dominant force bodes well for the All Blacks, with defensive oriented, negative tactics often utilised by coaches.

Speaking to the Rugby Paper, 85-Test flanker Dallaglio said that this year's tactical trends should make good reading for Kiwi fans, just months out from the World Cup.

"In my eyes, New Zealand are still without doubt the favourites to lift the World Cup," Dallaglio said.

"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."

Dallaglio also says that despite Wales' unbeaten status, his former side England should be the ones asserting themselves as the northern hemisphere's best.

"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.

"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."

This weekend's final Six Nations fixtures will see Ireland host Wales, while England face Scotland with an outside chance of claiming the trophy.

England's Sam Underhill goes on the charge during the rugby union international match between England and New Zealand at Twickenham stadium in London, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)
Sam Underhill in action against the All Blacks. Source: Associated Press


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