RUGBY UNION: All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has heaped praise on Eddie Jones after the Australian guided his England team to 18 unbeaten games - equalling New Zealand's world record.
England will have the chance to set a new mark next week by defeating Ireland following the 61-21 thrashing of Scotland which gave the English a second-straight Six Nations championship.
Jones' team has closed the gap to the Kiwis at the top of the International Rugby Board rankings and will collect back-to-back Six Nations grand slams with victory over the Irish.
Hansen said England's resurgence under Jones was just what rugby needed.
"I'd like to congratulate England on equalling the record," Hansen told the BBC.
"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 played each other since November 2014 and Hansen said he couldn't wait for the sides to go head to head again.
Asked who would win, Hansen gave a predictable response.
"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."
The All Blacks will be tested at home this southern hemisphere winter against the British and Irish Lions in June and July, and Hansen said was looking forward to a tough battle over three Tests.
"People here are very excited about the fact they're coming, as we don't get many touring teams in world rugby any more," he said.
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