All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has fired a shot at the Six Nations countries on Tuesday to abandon their self-interest and try to work with World Rugby to get a global calendar.
Hansen, who is preparing his side for their Rugby World Cup semi-final against England this coming Saturday, added that a lack of regular play between northern and southern hemisphere nations meant there was no traditional rivalry between the sides.
“I think we have played England once in the last six years and it’s hard to build a rivalry when you don’t play each other,” he told reporters in Tokyo. “If we could get the Six Nations to come on board with a global season then we might able to do that,” said Hansen.
New Zealand rugby officials have long argued for a better coordinated international calendar to ensure that northern and southern hemisphere competitions can be better aligned, and to better manage player workload.
Hansen also highlighted the success that Japan, which is officially a tier two nation, has had in the tournament, with the Brave Blossoms making their first quarter-final after they topped a pool that included Ireland and Scotland. Despite being beaten 26-3 by the Springboks in their quarter-final in Tokyo on Sunday.
Meanwhile, England has said they are ready “to give it everything” in their World Cup semi-final this weekend after last Saturday’s crushing 40-16 win over Australia.
Despite facing a daunting task against the All Blacks, who also advanced with a 46-14 demolition of Ireland, Scrum coach, Neal Hatley, says England have certain things they plan to do in the first fifteen to twenty minutes, and that’s their focus.
England understands the three-time champions have a good all-rounded game, but come Saturday’s big match, they’ll be ready to go.
“Some sides are really solid set piece and other sides are more attack and play. You know, their set piece is strong. Their transition game’s strong. You saw against Ireland, they defend exceptionally well with a lot of intent. They’ve got a proud win record for a good reason. I don’t think there’s any one area that they’re brilliant in. But, they’re very good across a lot of areas.” Said Hatley.
England Hooker, Luke Cowan Dickie, says his team is excited to be going up against the three time champions, the All blacks.
“You know, their record’s good. They do win quite a few games, so you’ve got to be excited. We are just going to get into training this week, work on a few things and yeah, come weekend, we’ll be ready to go.”
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