Jerome Kaino believes the 2017 British & Irish Lions will have a real fight on their hands with New Zealand constantly improving since their 2011 World Cup triumph.
Flanker Kaino played a crucial role in helping New Zealand lift the Webb Ellis Cup back in 2011; however he then didn’t pull on the All Black jersey for almost three years as he spent two seasons playing in Japan with Toyota Verblitz.
The 31-year-old returned to Auckland for the 2014 Super Rugby season and has added another seven caps to bring his tally up to 55.
In that time New Zealand have lost just once and Kaino admits the set up has come on leaps and bounds since their World Cup triumph three years ago, with it showing now signs of slowing down with the World Cup and the visit of the 2017 British & Irish Lions on the horizon.
"The structures within the team have gone to another level," he said.
"Younger players have definitely pushed the senior players in challenging for positions and just being around the environment has been awesome.
"The management and the coaches have learned from the past regime and tinkered with things a bit.
"It's more relaxed but also challenging. So there's a good balance between switching on and off."