He coached the Springboks to five wins against New Zealand
Former South Africa coach Peter de Villiers believes New Zealand will struggle in 2017 as their indiscipline in the Super Rugby season will follow them into the national side.
Writing in his column for Kwese Sports, the former Springbok coach, who led his team to five wins in eleven games against their greatest rivals, said: "Looking at Super Rugby, the All Blacks may be ripe for the picking in 2017 unless they improve their discipline.
"The All Blacks were the leaders in how they handled the off-the-ball situations, the little scuffles. They never let opponents get under their skin. But in this year’s Super Rugby competition it’s been quite noticeable to see how easy they can be drawn into things off the ball that have nothing to do with the game.
New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen congratulates Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt after the game. Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan
The former coach identifies the loss of key leaders as the reason why standards have slipped, saying: "with the All Blacks saying goodbye to a few leaders over the last few years (McCaw, Dan Carter, Keven Mealamu, Ma’a Nonu and Conrad Smith), and if what I see and perceive is true, then the way to try and beat them is by intimidation, while focusing on keeping your own discipline.
"Before you can try and run the All Blacks ragged, you have to drag them out of their comfort zone. You have to be in their faces and get them to do things they won’t normally do," he added.
Despite these concerns, the All Blacks only lost once last year and set a record of 18 successive test wins before falling short against Ireland in Chicago.
New Zealand welcome the Lions this summer for the first time since 2005.