"Jones is a good bloke"
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen has revealed a remarkably close relationship that he has with his England counterpart Eddie Jones.
The two men will do battle at Twickenham on Saturday, but it appears it will be as friends and not as enemies.
“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,”
“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,”
2018 has been largely a year to forget for England, they began with two wins in the Six Nations, but three defeats followed and a fifth-placed finish. A 2-1 series defeat to the Springboks in June saw questions raised in some quarters over Jones’ future.
“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. 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,”
England picked up a 12-11 win over South Africa to open their November campaign and Hansen is not underestimating the challenge his All Blacks will face.
“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. 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.
“He’s had some success against New Zealand in the past, but hopefully he doesn’t get any on Saturday.
“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.
“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.
“They are a good rugby team. They won 18 in a row, only one other side in the world has ever done that. So it makes them a good side,”