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Hansen hails England's record-matching win

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 12/03/2017 Phil Blanche

All Blacks boss Steve Hansen has welcomed England equalling his side's unbeaten 18-match Test record, saying it is good for international rugby.

England's 61-21 thrashing of Scotland at Twickenham on Saturday saw them match the All Blacks' run between August 2015 and November 2016, which included their successful World Cup tilt.

Victory gave England their second successive Six Nations title under Eddie Jones and they'll head to Ireland next weekend seeking the first back-to-back clean sweep 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."

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

Asked who would win, Hansen replied in a predictable manner.

"Being the All Blacks coach, I would like to think we would," he said.

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

"When the time comes it's going to be a cracker."

New Zealand's next challenge is against the British and Irish Lions in June and July, and Hansen said he was expecting a difficult test on home soil.

The Six Nations had demonstrated the depth of talent emanating from the British Isles, with the Lions set to bring one of the strongest sides in their history.

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

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