HIGH ON CON­FI­DENCE

Jones says Eng­land can play New Zealand any­time

New Straits Times - - Sport -

ED­DIE Jones has joked that Eng­land can play New Zealand straight after to­day’s Grand Slam match in Dublin. Vic­tory at Lans­downe Road would see Eng­land, who’ve al­ready re­tained the Six Na­tions ti­tle, set a new record of 19 suc­ces­sive Test wins by a ‘tier one’ or lead­ing rugby union na­tion and break the mark of 18 they cur­rently share with world cham­pi­ons New Zealand.

It would also see Jones’s men win the Triple Crown and be­come the first team in the Six Na­tions era to com­plete back-to-back Grand Slams.

But Eng­land have not played New Zealand dur­ing their win­ning streak and aren’t due to face the All Blacks again un­til 2018.

How­ever, Bri­tish me­dia re­ports this week said Eng­land’s Rugby Foot­ball Union were look­ing at re-ar­rang­ing their fix­ture sched­ule with a view to play­ing New Zealand at Twick­en­ham on Nov 4 this year.

Asked about the prospect of play­ing New Zealand in 2017, Jones jok­ingly replied: “If the All Blacks want to turn up to the Aviva Sta­dium on Satur­day and want to play us after Ire­land, then we’ll con­sider it.

“Would we win? After we’d beaten Ire­land? Who knows? It would be in­ter­est­ing, wouldn’t it?” the Aus­tralian added.

But Jones in­sisted the tim­ing of any match against the All Blacks was not his con­cern.

“I’ve got no view on that, I’m not an ad­min­is­tra­tor. I haven’t ne­go­ti­ated con­tracts, all I’m wor­ried about is Ire­land,” he said.

“The All Blacks have got noth­ing to do with us. We want to be the number one team in the world. When we get the op­por­tu­nity to play them, we’ll play them,” the for­mer Aus­tralia and Ja­pan coach added. AFP

AFP PIC

Eng­land’s Ed­die Jones kicks the ball dur­ing train­ing at Twick­en­ham Sta­dium in London re­cently.

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