Unfortunately, we have to wait another 12 months before we finally see Eddie Jones’ England take on the All Blacks.
Next month’s Autumn internationals will provide further insight into where exactly England are as a Test nation. They are ranked second in the world and rightly so. Yet although they impressively dismantled Argentina on two occasions during the summer, some lingering question marks reside over this side after their defeat to Ireland at the end of the Six Nations.
Those questions will likely be answered this November and of course, when they aim to win another Six Nations title next year.
Jones is relentless in his pursuit of the Web Ellis trophy in 2019 and everything he has done since he took over from Stuart Lancaster has been geared towards becoming world champions in two years time.
This mantra and philosophy was further evident at today’s media event where England announced their 34-man squad for their matches against Argentina, Australia and Samoa. Jones cites the All Blacks as a team he wants to emulate, in terms of their preparations for World Cups, via The Telegraph.
“We’ve got information on other teams that indicates there’s a gap of about 20 per cent in certain areas and that’s what we’ve got to breach,” Jones said.
“The All Blacks used to look at the World Cup with a view that as they were the No.1 team in the world, they would turn up and win it. What they’ve learned in the last eight years is the process of building towards a World Cup campaign.”
The ‘building-process’ is important, all of the nations competing in Japan will be aiming to peak come the latter part of 2019 and everything they do between now and then will be done in order to achieve this.
With Steve Hansen’s side, they have lost three games in the last season – to Ireland in Chicago, to the British and Irish Lions in Wellington and to Australia at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. Rather than seeing potential weakness in this All Blacks’ team, Jones believes that Hansen is purposefully increasing the depth of his squad already, despite running the risk of losing or coming close to losing matches, which is what we have seen in the Rugby Championship.
“What they have done post the Lions tour has been so clever in terms of being able to expand their depth, to experiment with the way they’ve played the game. They’ve deliberately put themselves under pressure in games to equip themselves better for the World Cup. It’s time for us now to start developing the depth and adaptability of the team.”
With some exciting young talent named in Jones’ squad for the upcoming Test series, it will be interesting to see how many of them get an opportunity to prove themselves at the highest level.