Sports

England coach taunts All Blacks

England rugby coach Eddie Jones said New Zealand were "there for the taking", even after his England side's bid to better the All Blacks' record winning streak ended with a defeat by Ireland in Dublin.

Ireland, who had also ended New Zealand's run, won 13-9 at a rainswept Lansdowne Road yesterday morning (Singapore time) to deny England a 19th successive Test win and prevent them from becoming the first side in the Six Nations era to win back-to-back Grand Slams.

Irish lock Iain Henderson scored the only try of the match, although England's defeat came after they had already retained the Six Nations title.

The British and Irish Lions travel to New Zealand for a three-Test series in June and July.

England, by contrast, are not scheduled to face the world champions until next year, although reports this week suggested officials were looking at rearrange the Twickenham fixture calendar to set up a Nov 4 clash between the international game's two top-ranked teams.

"I expect at least 15 of our guys to go on the Lions tour," said Jones, after suffering his first defeat in 18 Tests as England coach.

"And I think they'll have a massive shout (of winning a first series in New Zealand since 1971).

"New Zealand, as Ireland have shown, are there for the taking," the Australian added, referring to Ireland's 40-29 win in Chicago in November that stopped the All Blacks' run at 18 victories in a row.

RARING TO GO

"I can't wait for us to play them, either... I've had a discussion with Ian (Ritchie, the chief executive of England's Rugby Football Union) and we're raring to go."

Jones dismissed talk the loss had lifted a weight from England's shoulders, saying: "No, I think it's fantastic having the pressure to perform.

"To win the World Cup, you've got to win seven in a row, you've got to cope with that pressure. That was like a World Cup final today and we weren't good enough.

"We're 14 months into a four-year project," added Jones, who has long made it clear his ultimate goal is to win the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

"We'll have more setbacks as we move towards the World Cup." - AFP

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