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England could face All Blacks in November

Wed, Mar 15, 2017, Posted by   print

2007 World Cup

England are exploring the possibility of staging a mouth-watering showdown against New Zealand this autumn.

In a frustrating quirk of the international schedule, the game’s top two teams are not scheduled to meet until late next year, but the Press Association reports Nov. 4 is now being examined as a possible window for an additional fixture.

The All Blacks are due to face the Barbarians at Twickenham on that date and the Rugby Football Union believes a fourth autumn international — games against Australia, Argentina and Samoa form the current line-up — could be agreed.

“We are scheduled to play New Zealand in 2018 and if an opportunity came up to play them before then we would pursue it,” an RFU spokesman said.

England and New Zealand have not met since 2014, when they played four times, but the clamour for the dominant forces in the northern and southern hemispheres to clash is growing.

Expectation over the encounter has grown since last summer’s 3-0 series whitewash of Australia and has accelerated further after an unbeaten autumn and the successful defence of the Six Nations title, sealed by last Saturday’s 61-21 victory over Scotland.

If England topple Ireland in Dublin on St Patrick’s Day weekend, they will have become the sixth team to secure back to back Grand Slams and will eclipse the All Blacks’ record of 18 consecutive Test victories.

Adding spice to the meeting is the first verbal exchange between the rival head coaches, which started on Sunday when Steve Hansen congratulated Eddie Jones and his players for their Six Nations success.

Jones replied by expressing his wariness of Hansen’s approval, noting that compliments from an All Blacks coach are akin to fairytale predator the Big Bad Wolf stalking Little Red Riding Hood.

Nov. 4 falls outside of the international window, so any fixture would mean a fee would have to be paid to New Zealand.

However, any decision on staging an extra Test would raise concern over player welfare, while tackling the reigning world champions at the start of the autumn four months after a British and Irish Lions tour is also far from ideal.

Source Article from http://www.espn.co.uk/rugby/story/_/id/18912602/england-explore-possibility-all-blacks-test-autumn
England could face All Blacks in November
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