For the second time in three meetings Ireland earned victory over the world champions when they recorded a 16-9 victory in Dublin on November 17.
That came months after South Africa had come away from Wellington with a win, while England came close to inflicting what would have been a third defeat of 2018 on the All Blacks seven days prior to Ireland’s success.
And O’Driscoll thinks the aura around New Zealand has been diminished somewhat, giving everyone hope that they could lift the Webb Ellis trophy in Yokohama in 12 months’ time.
“I think Ireland’s success against the All Blacks has been a positive for the whole world, they’re not invincible,” HSBC global rugby sevens ambassador O’Driscoll told Omnisport.
“Also South Africa beating them in Wellington earlier in the year.
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) November 17, 2018
“If teams get their act together and perform well against the All Blacks they are not the team they were in 2015 when they won the World Cup. They’ve not got the same quality in certain positions.
“Beauden Barrett has been phenomenal, but I don’t think they’ve replaced Richie McCaw, I don’t think they’ve replaced the centres in Ma’a Nonu and Conrad Smith.
“I don’t think the guys that have come in have been able to step up to the standard left by those guys.
“I would never say New Zealand are vulnerable but there’s a feeling that if there is a year to beat New Zealand then potentially  is it.
“But that’s not just for Ireland, that’s for five, six, seven teams.”
Brian O’Driscoll is a HSBC global rugby sevens ambassador. They are working alongside HSBC to support the explosive growth of rugby sevens, helping the exciting and unpredictable sport thrive all over the world. Follow all the action at @HSBC_Sport on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Sign up to our mailing list here and we’ll keep you up to the minute with weekly updates from the world of rugby.