Beating All Blacks more important than winning Six Nations

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    05 Jan 2018     Getty Images

Now a commentator for SkySport in England, Greenwood said on the SkySport podcast, the Offload, that New Zealand were the only side in the world England hadn't beaten since Eddie Jones took over the coaching role after the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
That will have a chance to change when the sides meet at Twickenham on November 10 and winning that game should be England's priority, he said.

"To have that total, genuine from-your-core-self-belief that you can win a World Cup, you want to know that you've beaten everyone," he said.

Some of England's players had achieved that with the British & Irish Lions last year but that wasn't the same feeling because of the involvement of players from other countries.

"Some of them [England's players] are long enough in the tooth to have played in 2012 where they battered the All Blacks in Twickenham, but as this collective, under this coach, in this guise, in this iteration of England – they haven't beaten the All Blacks," he said.

And beating them was the biggest prize in rugby.

"The All Blacks are the greatest rugby team on the planet; there aren't many sporting teams who are better than them in terms of dominance.

"If you're an England footballer you want to go to Brazil and beat Brazil, if you're a racehorse you want to win at Cheltenham, if you're a darts player you want to beat Phil the Power [Taylor].

"You want to go to Thomond Park and win if you bring it down to club level, and at international level, you want to face the haka and you want to beat it," he said.

Meanwhile, The Yorkshire Post noted England was under pressure of their own.

"For all their winning culture, though, there have been some scrappy victories along the way so [Eddie] Jones will be keen to see his squad raise the bar further in 2018 as they step up preparations for next year's World Cup," it said.

While the 2017 November series had done little to whet the appetite with Argentina, Samoa and Australia involved, the 2018 campaign would be 'one to behold'.

"Not only do Steve Hansen's side venture to HQ but the other leading southern hemisphere teams, Australia and South Africa do, too, offering a perfect chance to gauge where England are ahead of the 2019 World Cup."

Japan will also play England, but before all that happened England needed to negotiate the Six Nations.

"He [Jones] will be looking for more ruthless performances with England, at times, still lacking the requisite efficiency with ball in hand to really punish teams as heavily as they could.

"They will need to be clinical against the All Blacks even taking into account the world champions have just had their worst year since 2009, suffering two defeats and one draw in 14 Tests last year.

"Jones wants to have overhauled them as the sport's No.1 ranked team when heading into the World Cup and to do that standards have to get even better.

"Ideally, England must lift the Six Nations crown again which, in turn, would create some history of its own.

"Strangely, no side in the competition's history including as the Five Nations – or even dating back to the days of the Home Nations which started in 1883 – has ever won three successive titles outright," it said.