Jones suspicious of New Zealand praise

Tue, 14 Mar 2017 07:35

REACTION: Eddie Jones has likened the praise his England side have received from New Zealand coach Steve Hansen to the cautionary fairytale of Little Red Riding Hood being tricked by the wolf.

Hansen congratulated the Six Nations champions after they had equalled the All Blacks' record of 18 successive Test wins with a 61-21 Calcutta Cup demolition of Scotland at Twickenham on Saturday.

The All Blacks boss, who guided New Zealand to 2015 World Cup glory in England, told the BBC on Sunday: "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," added Hansen, who said England were now producing rugby worthy of their talent.

Jones's men will surpass New Zealand's record for most consecutive Test wins by a 'tier one' or leading Rugby Union if they beat Ireland in Dublin on Saturday - a match where victory would also see them complete back-to-back Grand Slams. 

England haven't played New Zealand during their unbeaten run and are not due to face them again until 2018 at the earliest.

Jones has made it clear he wants England to dethrone the All Blacks by winning the 2019 World Cup in Japan. 

In the meantime, the Australian coach is determined any compliments from the New Zealand camp will not turn his head or that of anyone else in his England squad. 

"It's a bit like Red Riding Hood and the wolf when the wolf comes dressed up as the grandmother," Jones said at England's Bagshot training base, southwest of London, on Monday.

"You always have to be careful when All Black coaches compliment you, you always have to be careful."

England produced their best rugby of the Six Nations against Scotland, scoring seven tries with centre Jonathan Joseph crowning some impressively slick moves with a hat-trick as Scotland's defence was shredded time after time.

But Jones said England had needed a "cleansing meeting" when they spent a few days training in Oxford to help them rediscover top form after they failed to hit the heights earlier in the tournament. 

"We had a bit of a cleansing meeting when we were in camp in Oxford," Jones said. "Not that we felt we weren't doing what we needed to do, but we just felt we needed to reset our minds a little bit.

"It was about accepting that we've been successful," the former Australia and Japan coach added. "To me the English are quite reserved and they actually struggle quite a bit with success.

"I know the perception from the Celts is that it's the opposite - they think the English are arrogant.

"As an Australian I think the English are very polite and reserved. And they struggle to actually carry that success around.

"What we said, and we had a great discussion, is that we have to acknowledge we've been successful and it's how much we want to be great now."

Jones is now excited by what's at stake for England at Lansdowne Road on Saturday. 

"How many opportunities in your life do you get to beat Ireland in Ireland to win back-to-back Grand Slams? It's almost a childhood dream as a rugby player," Jones said.

"The players realise they have a once in a lifetime opportunity here. History shows that winning back-to-back Grand Slams happens once every 27 years.

"None of these players is going to be playing in 27 years so this is a once in a lifetime opportunity."

Agence France-Presse

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