Sean Fitzpatrick believes that Ireland and England 'have New Zealand's number in terms of how they play the game' but that the All Blacks remain favourites for this year's World Cup.
Ireland defeated New Zealand 16-9 during the November Internationals. A week earlier, New Zealand had beaten England 16-15.
"The All Blacks are the defending champions, they probably are still the team to beat and I say that every World Cup," the former New Zealand captain told Sky Sports.
I always thought that the major challenge would come from the northern hemisphere and I still think that after what happened in the autumn and what's happening in the Six Nations.
England have really gone to another level, Ireland have real depth and to win World Cups, you need depth, and Ireland's got that without question and so have England.
"I just think that England and especially Ireland have got our number in terms of the way we play the game," continued Fitzpatrick.
"They play the game similar to us.
"You throw those two in there along with Wales, who are on the most unbelievable winning streak at the moment, and then you've got South Africa and you can never write Australia off. It's going to be hugely, hugely competitive."
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