All Blacks respect for English achievements

Hansen Jones


England qualified by beating Jones' native Australia 40-16 while New Zealand advanced courtesy of a 46-14 win over Ireland.


Hansen said he had only seen a little bit of England's win over Australia. They were a very good rugby side who had come to Japan after being hurt by failing to make the playoffs in their own World Cup tournament in 2015.


"Through that adversity I think they are stronger because of that. They're desperate and they're well coached. It's going to be a mighty clash and I'm looking forward to it," he said.


Jones had done a fantastic job with England since being appointed in the wake of 2015, they shared a world record for most wins in Test rugby with the All Blacks.


"They've got a harder edge about them. He's [Jones] been part of a winning World Cup team with South Africa and he's had the disappointment of losing to England when he was coaching with Australia [in 2003] but to get to the final is being successful anyway even if you don't win it.


"So he's got the ability to understand what's coming and he'll share that with his coaching and management group and his playing group," Hansen said.


But the All Blacks would be looking to their own preparation to be ready for what England would throw at them.


"We can't control any of that. What we can control is what we do. It's about us pushing the reset button today [Sunday] and starting again.


"Whilst we are really, really happy with what happened yesterday it all amounts to nothing now. It's a clean slate and we've just got to get back into our work and get excited by it which I know we will be and look forward to what will be a great challenge," he said.


Hansen said one of the hardest things to do in sport was being able to repeat and then repeat again after successes but the All Blacks had the mantra of trying to be better than they were the day before.


"We don't always achieve it, but if you strive to do that you give yourself an opportunity," he said.


"We know if we aren't better we're not going to get what we want."


Both England and the All Blacks were defending really well and it would be important for the All Blacks to be patient if things were not going their way at times in the game.


Hansen spoke about the fraternity between international coaches and said while there was often banter between coaches it was often just promotion for the game.


He said he respected Jones' passion for rugby, a game he loved. His work ethic was second to none and at one stage when coach of Japan his commitment had resulted in a spell in hospital.


"He just loves the game and anyone that loves the game will get my support," he said.


England were playing well and would be confident, but so were the All Blacks.


Hansen confirmed flanker Sam Cane had been substituted at halftime because they wanted to get Scott Barrett onto the field, and with the bench they had they were able to do that.


Barrett gave them lineout variations and he could be pushed into lock. He would be a starter in most teams, he said, and he was a luxury for the All Blacks.


At the same time it was important to ensure key players had something left in the tank if they were to make the semifinal.


Flanker Matt Todd was the only injury concern. He had suffered a blow to a shoulder he had dislocated earlier in the season.


"We'll just have to see how it goes but it is most unlikely he will be available," he said.




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