Hansen: Less is better when it comes to NZ-England tests


Their 12-11 win over the Springboks was remarkable in many ways because England should have been out of the contest at half-time.

"It's been a good week, the players have recovered well, trained well on Tuesday, exceptionally well on Wednesday and we look forward to the challenge of taking on New Zealand on Saturday".

England lifted some of the pessimism surrounding their team with a much-needed victory over South Africa but Eddie Jones' side face the ultimate test in rugby this weekend.

A few months before they actually won the World Cup, England produced perhaps their best performance of the Clive Woodward era.

Two further changes to the team that toppled South Africa sees Ben Moon come in for Alec Hepburn at loosehead prop and Sam Underhill replace Tom Curry, who has been ruled out of the remainder of the autumn by an ankle injury.

New Zealand remain the outstanding team in worldwide rugby although the All Blacks are not invincible.

The match rugby fans across the world have wanted to see, and it only took four years to make it happen.

"You can either make the movie or be in the movie, and we want to make the movie", said Jones, whose victory over South Africa as Japan coach at the 2015 World Cup is being made into a film called "The Brighton Miracle".

But it's the presence of Jack Goodhue that looms large over Williams and Crotty.

This is the first meeting between the teams for four years and New Zealand have predictably held the upper hand.

Les Bleus were supposed to remain behind the 10-metre line in their own half, but they advanced towards the All Blacks in a "V-formation", led by captain Thierry Dusautoir.

England have won just seven matches against the All Blacks since they first met in 1905, but George has taken heart from the way the Lions drew a three-Test series 1-1 a year ago. But it may be tighter than some expect with the handicap mark pitched at 14 points.

The All Blacks also play Ireland and Italy on their end of year tour. "Wherever there's trouble, there's Ashton", says Jones.

Jones believes opponents are often bewitched by New Zealand's dazzling skills, reducing them to the role of spectators as their try-line is repeatedly breached before coming to their senses.

It seemed normal service was about to be resumed when New Zealand then scored two quick tries through Julian Savea and Kieran Read.

Ioane will be relishing his first match against England and is worth backing, even at short odds, to continue his scoring streak.