Hansen: Less is better when it comes to NZ-England tests

Beauden Barrett has stepped up to fill Dan Carter's boots

"I think it's even bigger than that, actually", Hansen said before the All Blacks' main training session in London.

Saturday's match will be the first time world champions New Zealand have met England since a 24-21 All Blacks win at Twickenham in 2014 and the long-anticipated fixture has been given added spice ahead of next year's World Cup in Japan.

England's Jamie George is happy to be among coach Eddie Jones's "finishers" with the potential to close out a famous victory over the All Blacks at Twickenham on Saturday. "You couldn't describe it any other way", said Hansen.

"For me it's a great part of the game", the No 8 added.

"That was something that was very frustrating because we weren't fixing things on the run".

But there were also the summer tours of 2016 when Jones offered Ashton only the second-grade trip with the Saxons to South Africa, and Ashton, whose partner had a baby on the way, declined.

The All Blacks were denied victory by a touring Lions side following a dramatic draw in the third Test as Owen Farrell - one of several England players involved - kicked a late penalty.


England enter the clash armed with possibly the game's deadliest finisher after Chris Ashton was given his first worldwide start for four years, displacing Jack Nowell from the right wing. "He's almost there and we feel like he'll be of enormous value to us in the future", Jones said.

While that challenge cast a spotlight on Farrell's physical approach, Jones believes it is England's playmaker who is given insufficient protection by referees while borderline hits on Ireland's Johnny Sexton are often condemned.

In the following years, however, his worldwide star began to wane as a combination of injury, suspension and coach opinion meant he dropped down the pecking order and he missed the 2015 World Cup, having scored six tries in the 2011 edition. So you'd have to say they have improved, but coming with that is pressure. "He's tough so he gets up and he plays", said Jones. "He puts his body on the line, he doesn't play in a dinner suit". Double world player of the year Beauden Barrett directs operations at fly-half with the likes of Sonny Bill Williams and Ben Smith outside him. The truth is a little more complicated but then a review of the 31-year-old Ashton's union career, since he switched from rugby league in 2007, is less a gentle trip down memory lane and more a 130mph joyride mixed with a stock-car smash.

"The rugby world has seen what the All Blacks have done since the 2015 World Cup when we had a fantastic campaign in England, but I personally feel they have got stronger", he said at a MasterCard event in Tokyo.

Steve Hansen has insisted the All Blacks' clash with England this weekend is even bigger than last year's series against the British and Irish Lions.

They get on the field, they play and they give you everything they've got and he's like that.

"I've been playing for 15-16 years now".

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