All Blacks still setting the World Cup pace

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    28 Nov 2017     Getty Images

Along the way Ireland coach Joe Schmidt revealed that not only will his side host the All Blacks for one Test next November, they are also open to playing another Test along the lines of that played in Chicago last year if it can be arranged.

With the much-awaited Test against England, the November 2018 tour is shaping as a big one for the All Blacks.


Much of the analysis in the British media has centred on just where England is under coach Eddie Jones as they begin their countdown to Tokyo.

Sir Clive Woodward in his Daily Mail column said: "England are in very good shape but the quality of New Zealand's play for the last half-hour in Cardiff was a reminder just how much work they still need to do.

"England haven't got the world-class attacking talent that the All Blacks have at their disposal – the likes of Beauden Barrett, Rieko Ioane and Waisake Naholo. Or rather they might have but the full potential of England's X-factor players is yet to be unlocked."

Woodward also said on BBC Sport that it would be hard to call a winner between New Zealand and England if the game had been played this year.

"It is impossible to say who would win, but England would go 50-50 into that game with nothing to fear.

"New Zealand are like England – they are rebuilding, and the All Blacks are getting better and better," he said.

Jeremy Guscott in The Rugby Paper said that England were still not the finished product.

"Over the next two years this England have to go beyond employing quick line-speed as the building block for their attack. The next step is to back your speed and skill from the set piece, as New Zealand did by giving Beauden Barrett space against Scotland.

"However, New Zealand have lost games this season – including almost being beaten by Scotland – and it is clear that Australia, England and Ireland are all now at the top table with them," he said.

Sifting the ashes after Wales' 18-33 loss to the All Blacks the Western Mail observed: "The world champions are building enviable depth, with their resources in some positions frightening, particularly at centre and in the back three.

"The gap between the best in the world and the rest may be closing slightly, but there is still a fair bit of catching up to do."

Tom Fordyce in a column for said: "The All Blacks are never there for the taking. This year, however, they have at least been there for the asking. They just like giving no for an answer.

"So much but so little to show for it once again as New Zealand ran out 33-18 winners. History repeats itself in this contest not because no one is listening but because it makes logical sense. The side that takes its chances wins. Ruthless beats romantic every time."

Former All Blacks Nick Evans said in The Guardian: "We can safely say that Rieko Ioane has been the star find of the year for the All Blacks.

"It all started with the Blues against the Lions and he's massively kicked on from there. It was such a commanding performance from him against Wales – he looks beyond his years, just like Doug Howlett and Joe Rokocoko did.

"Steve Hansen has urged him to keep engaged in the game more and it is paying off. On the whole, New Zealand have managed this tour really well, with six or seven front-line players back at home. Hansen can definitely be satisfied."