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Australia international Kurtley Beale believes New Zealand's forward pack has been the key to their dominance in the past year.
Despite losing five key players - including Richie McCaw, Dan Carter and Ma'a Nonu - to retirement after winning the Rugby World Cup last year, the All Blacks remained the most potent force in 2016.
Steve Hansen's side won the Rugby Championship as part of an 18-Test winning streak which only came to an end when they suffered a 40-29 defeat to Ireland in Chicago in November.
The ability of the All Blacks' forwards to distribute the ball has been at the heart of their success, according to Beale, though he believes the likes of England will start closing the gap.
Beale told Omnisport: "[New Zealand] are a world-class outfit. They just seem like they run like a machine. Any player they put in that jersey all steps up and gets the job done.
"There is quality throughout the whole country I think and obviously they are doing the simple things as well.
"I think a lot of their forward pack surprise you every week and a lot of them can throw a 20-metre pass left and right and I think that is probably the difference at the moment.
"A lot of their forwards can catch and pass at a high level under pressure and that has created opportunities for everyone around them, so I think that could be the small significant difference of what keeps them apart from a lot of different countries.
"England are stepping up now and starting to be a threat with their forward playing so I feel like teams are starting to hunt them down, including Ireland with that terrific result in Chicago, so there are opportunities for other countries to take it to them."
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