Steve Hansen congratulates England on equalling All Blacks' record

Steve Hansen congratulates England on equalling All Blacks' record

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen has welcomed England equalling the All Blacks' unbeaten 18-match Test record by saying it is good for international rugby.

England's 61-21 thrashing of Scotland at Twickenham yesterday saw them match the All Blacks' run between August 2015 and November 2016, which included Hansen's side winning the World Cup.

Victory gave England their second successive European title under Eddie Jones, and they will head to Ireland next weekend seeking first back-to-back Grand Slams in the championship since 1992-93.

England have also closed the gap on New Zealand at the top of the International Rugby Board rankings, and Hansen believes it is down to the work ethic Jones has instilled in his squad.

"I'd like to congratulate England on equalling the record," Hansen told BBC Radio Five Live's Sportsweek programme.

"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.

"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.

"Sometimes you get talented players, but they don't have that work ethic.

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

England and New Zealand have not met since November 2014 and Hansen admits he is relishing the day the two sides meet again.

Asked who would win, Hansen replied: "Being the All Blacks coach I would like to think we would.

"But Eddie being the England coach he would like to think he would.

"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."

New Zealand's next challenge is against the British and Irish Lions this summer and Hansen admits the world champions are expecting a difficult test on home soil.

"The Six Nations has been a great tournament," Hansen said.

"We've seen the depth of player quality and they will come with probably one of the best Lions teams ever selected.

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

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