Rugby's four-year itch will get a reprieve in November when England host the All Blacks.

The lull has been so prolonged first five-eighths Beauden Barrett has not started a test against England in his 62 international appearances.

In the previous 2010-14 quadrennial stretch, the rivals played seven tests with England's 38-21 triumph at Twickenham in 2012, the magnificent shining result for the men who pull on the white jerseys.

Even for their rumbustious supporters, pride in that triumph was getting tatty at the edges until Eddie Jones' arrival and campaign success puffed out the chests again. Successive Six Nations' triumphs and 22 wins set against a single defeat to Ireland will do that, not to Jones or his squad but to those fired up by Swing Low Sweet Chariot.


England's immediate concen-tration will be about a strong Six Nations resumption tomorrow against Italy and working through that tournament before a three-test mid-year trip to South Africa then hosting the Springboks the week before the November 11 showdown with the All Blacks.

Since he left his birthplace of Tasmania, Jones has carried an ambitious edge around his work as a schoolteacher and passion for playing rugby then coaching the game. His tough mental edge drove his smaller frame and as a professional coach, he has increased those challenges on himself and his players.

Some struggle with the intrusive assault and find Jones too full-on. But they look at the scoreboards and the indicators veering towards the success column which is the strongest currency in professional rugby.

Jones confronts players relent-lessly and with the advances in technology, none is safe from his blowtorch inquisition as the coach is able to monitor masses of games, training performances and data.

He wants players whose performance soak up pressure and welcome the intense heat of international rugby.

His methods are not the "my way or the highway" approach because Jones is always looking for margins that have been labelled the 1 per cent advances in the game and wants players to assess situations and bring more potent flexibility to their play.

That balance has helped the All Blacks become such a consistently difficult side to play with a high success rate and successive 2011 and 2015 World Cup triumphs as evidence of their progress.

That benchmark is one Jones needs to measure England against. Training grounds, meeting rooms and Six Nations internationals are all pieces of the rugby puzzle but confronting the different styles and attitudes of the Springboks, Wallabies, Pumas and All Blacks is another level.


It's a standard Jones has to cajole and demand from England before he and the All Blacks unfurl their marker pens a year shy of the 2019 World Cup.