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'Lions could be best ever', Hansen

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    13 Mar 2017     Getty Images

Hansen told BBC Radio Five Live's Sportsweek programme that New Zealanders had seen the depth of player quality in the Six Nations tournament and believed a quality Lions side would result.

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

QUICK TAP: JIM KAYES SELECTS HIS LIONS FORM XV

Hansen made the comments when congratulating England on equalling the All Blacks' record for most consecutive wins which stands at 18.

England can extend that at the weekend if they beat Ireland to complete a Grand Slam of the Six Nations, only the fifth time a side had won Grand Slams in successive seasons.

England's success had elevated it to No.2 in the world behind the All Blacks, and Hansen said that was down to the hard work ethic Jones had applied to England in the wake of their disastrous home World Cup in 2015.

England's success was good for the game, he said.

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

"Eddie has come in and instilled 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."
Hansen said there were times when talented players were available but they didn't always have the work ethic.

"It's not the players' fault, but then someone comes in their lives, a parent, a teach 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," he said.

While the sides haven't met since November 2014, Hansen was looking forward to their game in 2018.

"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," he said.

Most consecutive Test wins for Tier one sides:

18 – New Zealand (2015-16), England (2015- )
17 – New Zealand (1965-69), New Zealand (2013-14), South Africa (1997-98)
16 – New Zealand (2011-12)
15 – South Africa (1994-96), New Zealand (2005-06), New Zealand (2009-10)
14 – England (2002-03).