Say what you like about Eddie Jones - and Steve Hansen will likely have a few one-liners up his metaphorical sleeve should the All Blacks play them in November, or more likely, 12 months after that - but he has made England's final Six Nations test against Ireland in Dublin required viewing in this part of the world.

Tomorrow morning at six o'clock NZT, Jones' England team will attempt to make history by breaking the All Blacks' tier one test winning streak of 18. Many New Zealanders are likely to set their alarm clocks, for this is one test that promises intensity, potential animosity, and, crucially, a reasonably high skill level.

And, should England do it by beating the nation who stopped the All Blacks' streak in that tumultuous test in Chicago last year, Hansen will quickly be sought out for comment and he will almost certainly be magnanimous, as he was when they got to the 18 mark with their win over Scotland last weekend.

And, no matter if England win or lose, whatever Hansen says is likely to remarked upon by Jones. Whether we are now eight months out from a clash between the world's two top-ranked rugby nations, or 20 months, it will probably be the continuation of an off-field sparring exercise which promises to run for some time yet.

Advertisement

"Hearing Steve Hansen make comments reminds me of Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf dressed up as the grandmother ... you've always got to be careful of compliments, particularly from an All Black coach," was Jones' reply to Hansen's congratulations at England equalling the All Blacks' streak.

Asked about that comment by Radio Sport's Martin Devlin, Hansen replied: "Well, he's obviously not very used to getting compliments, so he's got to try and brush it off, I suppose."

Jones and Hansen possess wit and comic timing in front of the media and the acknowledgement of the value of scoring psychological points, knowing whatever they say will be seen or heard by their players.

Jones has also used the media in an attempt to deflect attention from a poor performance - witness his interviews immediately after England's victory over Italy at Twickenham which was remarkable for the way the visitors outfoxed Jones' men with their tactic of not engaging at the breakdown. It wasn't rugby, Jones said, and refunds for spectators might have been in order.

Sometimes Hansen will take a jab at an opponent out of mischief, but being wary not to hand a rival team ammunition.

He could hardly help himself last year when Wales were touring New Zealand, but he wasn't firing shots at Wales' coach, former All Black Warren Gatland, it was a small pre-emptive strike at Wallabies coach Michael Cheika after the Australians had gone 2-0 down to England.

Before and during that series, won 3-0 by his side, Jones constantly needled Cheika, a former clubmate, and Cheika, for whatever reason, refused to engage.

Hansen's take was: "Cheika has not come back, he's let Eddie have a free rein to the point where he's actually allowed Eddie to bully him in the media. I don't know if that's because they know each other that well that there's a pecking order from the old days ... but that's gone on to the park, hasn't it?"

The key of course, is the ability to back it up. Jones did it with England, and Hansen did it with the All Blacks in retaining the Bledisloe Cup. The build-up to the next England v All Blacks test, whenever it happens, will be anticipated almost as much as the match itself.

Although, be careful about asking if he has anything up his sleeve because Hansen might reply as he has in the past: "Nothing, just my arm."