Rugby

All Black boss Hansen hails Jones' England

2017-03-12 18:00
Steven Hansen (Getty)

London - New Zealand coach Steve Hansen praised the renewed "work ethic" and "vision" shown by England under Eddie Jones after they equalled the All Blacks' record of 18 consecutive Test wins by a major rugby union nation.

England drew level with the world champions' mark in style, thrashing oldest rivals Scotland 61-21 at Twickenham on Saturday, with Jonathan Joseph's hat-trick among their seven tries.

Victory saw England win their second straight Six Nations title under Australian coach Jones, who has revitalised the team since taking over following their first-round exit on home soil at the 2015 World Cup.

Jones's men now head to Dublin to face Ireland in the final match of the 2017 Six Nations next weekend knowing a win would see them become the first England side since 1992-93 to win back-to-back Grand Slams.

A win at Lansdowne Road would also see England surpass New Zealand's 18-match winning streak, which started in August 2015 and included Hansen's team lifting the World Cup before Ireland, achieving their first-ever victory over the All Blacks, stopped the run with a dramatic 40-29 success in Chicago in November.

Many have questioned the exact worth of England's achievement given they have not played New Zealand, the world's number one ranked side, in their winning sequence and are not due to face the All Blacks again until 2018 at the earliest.

But a sporting Hansen told BBC Radio Five on Sunday: "I'd like to congratulate England on equalling the record.

"It's great for rugby because we want competition and games that people want to watch and get excited by.

"Eddie has come in and installed a want and a desire that probably hasn't been there before.

"We've always felt England have had plenty of talent but not always been willing to work hard. But they seem to be doing that now under Eddie, and it's no surprise that they're putting a run together that's pretty impressive.

"Sometimes you get talented players, but they don't have that work ethic.

"It's not the players' fault, but then someone comes in their lives, a parent, a teacher or in this case Eddie as a coach, who instils a work ethic and creates a vision that excites them and people change their habits."

Jones's oft-stated ultimate goal with England is to win the 2019 World Cup in Japan and dethrone New Zealand.

England and New Zealand last met in 2014, when the All Blacks won 24-21 at Twickenham, and Hansen was eagerly anticipating their next encounter.

Asked who would win, Hansen replied: "Being the All Blacks coach, I would like to think we would.

"But Eddie being the England coach, he would like to think he would.

"When the time comes it's going to be a cracker. It's something rugby people will want to see and, hopefully, the game lives up to all the hype when it eventually happens because there will be plenty."

But the more immediate challenge for New Zealand is a three-Test series at home to the British and Irish Lions in June and July.

The Lions have won just the one series in New Zealand, back in 1971, and their last campaign against the All Blacks, in 2005, ended in a 3-0 series defeat after a trio of convincing defeats.

But former Wales coach Hansen expected far sterner opposition this year.

"The Six Nations has been a great tournament," he said.

"We've seen the depth of player quality and they will come with probably one of the best Lions teams ever selected.

"People here are very excited about the fact they're coming as we don't get many touring teams in world rugby any more."

Read more on:    england  |  all blacks  |  steven hansen  |  eddie jones  |  rugby
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