An improved work ethic is the secret to England’s 18-game winning run according to All Blacks boss Steve Hansen and he feels Eddie Jones’ team do possess world-class talent in their midfield duo George Ford and Owen Farrell.
England’s 61-21 trouncing of Scotland on Saturday saw Jones’ team equal the All Blacks’ tier one record of 18 wins on the bounce and also claim their second Six Nations title in as many years. It is quite some feat and it has caught the eye of All Blacks coach Hansen.
“I’d like to congratulate them on equalling the record and they’re playing very, very well,” Hansen said on BBC’s Sportsweek. “To beat a Scotland side that’s playing well, they should be proud of that. Hats off to them, and well done.”
The two teams are not set to meet until 2018 at the earliest, but Hansen has been watching their form closely and feels Jones has installed “a want and a desire” in England and a “work ethic” focused on maximising potential.
(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
“We always thought England had plenty of talent but did not want to work hard but they are doing that under Eddie and actually loving it,” Hansen said and he has also been impressed by their squad depth along with their playmakers George Ford and Owen Farrell.
“To achieve what they’ve achieved, you need a team and that’s exciting for England,” Hansen told the BBC. “They’ve got a team that’s got good depth, it doesn’t matter if they lose — look at their lock situation they have heaps of great locks.
“And look at their five-eight situation, they have two world-class players [George Ford and Owen Farrell] and if they lose one they have another to step in.
“That’s across the board and that’s the exciting part. That’s the difference: rather than having one or two individuals who are playing well, they have a squad that’s trying to get better and get to another level every time they play. To me that’s a better formula than having one or two superstars.”
Hansen, who guided the All Blacks to the 2015 Rugby World Cup, hopes both teams will be at full strength when they eventually meet and lives up to the inevitable pre-match hype. But next up on Hansen’s radar is the forthcoming British & Irish Lions’ visit and he is relishing the chance to take on Warren Gatland’s tourists.
“The Six Nations has a been a great tournament and we have seen the depth of player quality in the tournament,” Hansen continued. “They will come with a lot of depth and it will be probably be one of the best ever Lions selected.
“People are very excited about the team that is coming. We don’t get many touring teams on tour anymore, the Lions and probably it. To be coming to New Zealand to play the games they’re playing, people are excited.”
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Hansen: Ford and Farrell are world class
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