England seem certain to miss out on a clash with the All Blacks later this year, with the RFU set to confirm a New Zealand v Barbarians fixture at Twickenham on November 4 instead.
The Daily Mail is reporting that English coach Eddie Jones was desperate for a crack at the reigning world champions off the back of their Six Nations triumph and their record-equalling winning streak.
While RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie seemed open to vetoing the Barbarians clash, Sportsmail claims NZ Rugby counterpart Steve Tew has been insistent it go ahead as planned.
The All Blacks will also face France, Scotland and Wales on their northern hemisphere tour this year, and aren't due to meet England until November 2018.
The Mail reports that Ritchie was so keen to bring the rivals together earlier that he threatened to withdraw Twickenham as a venue for the Barbarians match, thus reducing the anticipated gate.
But the RFU has apparently been forced to back down - vetoing the Barbarians fixture would have made it seem "heavy-handed and churlish", said The Mail.
There are also concerns that an All Blacks v Barbarians encounter in London would overshadow England's subsequent campaign against Australia, Argentina and Samoa, adversely affecting ticket sales for those games.
While an England-New Zealand clash would undoubtedly sell out, the RFU would have had to split the proceeds with NZR and then probably split their own share with premiership clubs in return for releasing players outside the international window.
By the time the world's top two sides meet again, they have gone four years between meetings. They will contest just game during the current World Cup cycle, after meeting six times during the previous 2011-15 period.