England v New Zealand – External pressure on Eddie Jones means nothing, claims Steve Hansen

Steve Hansen: New Zealand head coach offered some words of empathy for his opposite number.
Steve Hansen: New Zealand head coach offered some words of empathy for his opposite number.
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Steve Hansen believes Eddie Jones will be totally unfazed by any pressure over England’s form or his own future.

New Zealand head coach Hansen laid out his firm respect for England counterpart Jones, revealing the pair speak “probably every second week”.

Jones had bristled at suggestions Saturday’s 12-11 win over South Africa at Twickenham could prove the most important of his rein as England head coach.

England will face back-to-back world champions New Zealand for the first time in four years at Twickenham on Saturday, with Hansen insisting Jones’s men remain a global power. “Talking to Eddie, I know he and England are very excited about this game, and we are too,” said Hansen.

“We usually talk either by text or by phone, probably every second week.

“It’s always good to have other people who are doing a similar role to yourself to be able to talk to.

England coach Eddie Jones during the Autumn International match at Twickenham Stadium, London. (Picture: PA)

England coach Eddie Jones during the Autumn International match at Twickenham Stadium, London. (Picture: PA)

“First and foremost you’ve got to have some form of relationship that allows you to get on with each other.

“You don’t ring people up you don’t like, just because they are doing the same job as you.

“So it probably indicates I like him and he might like me; I don’t know. The bottom line is we talk, our wives talk, and that’s not surprising. I think he’s a good bloke.

“The only people that don’t understand what it’s like to be a head coach of an international team are the people who’ve never been one.

The only people that don’t understand what it’s like to be a head coach of an international team are the people who’ve never been one.

Steve Hansen

“There’s a lot of pressure there, all the time, whether you’re winning or losing. It comes just in a different wrapper.

“And the expectations when you coach a top side like England are, you’re expected to win, and play well.

“Eddie more than anybody understands that. So he’s not too bothered by it.

“People who get excited by it are the people that have to write the stories, and sell the newspapers. The bottom line is he’ll be going about doing his job like he always does.

“And looking from afar, I think he’s doing a pretty good job.

“Winning doesn’t make it any less pressure, it just comes in a different package.

“But you know that, you know that there’s going to be pressure with the job, and you accept that and you get on with it.”

England lost four consecutive Test matches to New Zealand in 2014, but a quirk of the global fixture schedules means the two sides have not met since.

Hansen admitted Jones’s vast experience will filter into preparing an England side on Saturday that will certainly have New Zealand on guard, despite the hosts’ vast injury issues.

“He’s got a tremendous work ethic, Eddie; he does a lot of homework and through that he will have identified some areas he’ll want to try to target,” said Hansen.

“Does that give him any better idea how to beat us than anyone else? Maybe. But there’s a lot of good coaches out there.

“To win a Test match against a good opponent you’ve got to do your homework and things have to fall your way a little bit.

“He’s had some success against New Zealand in the past, but hopefully he doesn’t get any on Saturday.

“You’re the guys calling him bullish, I’m just saying he’s just trying to do the right thing for his team.

“Does it mean we’ve got to be on guard against England? Obviously. It wouldn’t matter if he were bullish or not.”