Test against England is 'bigger' than facing British and Irish Lions - Steve Hansen

Steve Hansen is looking forward to the game against England
Steve Hansen is looking forward to the game against England

New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen described the upcoming Test match against England at Twickenham will be a bigger contest than last year's series against British and Irish Lions.

The All Blacks were put to test at home in the three-game series against Lions which ended in a 1-1 draw but Hansen believes facing the red rose team at their own backyard will be even more challenging.

Also, this will be the first time the two teams will meet each other since their last encounter in 2014 with pundits even tipping one of England or New Zealand to be favourites to win the World Cup in Japan next year.

“I think (the England match is) even bigger actually. I think the Lions tour has made it bigger because we weren’t successful,” Hansen told Stuff.

“In only drawing the series, that wasn’t successful to us. That’s made this week have a sharper edge to it, which is good. You’ve got to be reasonably stupid if you can’t work out this is going to be big.

“There’s 80,000 people (in the stadium), it’s all over the papers, everyone’s talking about it, you can’t get a ticket.

“You’d have to be on holiday, I reckon, if you didn’t work out that this is going to be big. And we haven’t got anybody on holiday this week.”

England had an indifferent 2018 where they had a struggling Six Nations and summer series but managed to get their autumn international campaign with a close 12-11 win over Springboks. Even though the numbers are stacked heavily towards the All Blacks, who have won 32 out of the 40 games against England, Hansen wants his side to guard against complacency.

“I don’t know who’s writing them off, it would be foolish to do that,” he said. “But does it put pressure on us? No.

“There’s already pressure on us, the one constant thing about being in the All Blacks is you’re under pressure because you’re expected to win every Test match you play and not only win it, win it really, really well.

“Once you come to realise that then life becomes a little easier.

“And it does at times give you an advantage because when other teams get put under pressure of having to win big games, they haven’t experienced that as much as maybe we have.”

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