England and Eddie Jones have been the elephant in the Lensbury room this week.

While not immediately relevant, given the All Blacks don't face England for another year, local scribes have been keen to stoke fires and keep the most anticipated test in world rugby simmering along.

Every time the All Blacks have spoken to the media they have been peppered with questions about whether they are disappointed about not playing England on this tour, and whether they would rather face them than the Barbarians at Twickenham on Sunday (NZT).

Players and management have largely battered away the hypothetical probes - Anton Lienert-Brown even copped a gentle ribbing from England supporters at a promotional event.


All Blacks coach Steve Hansen, as he so often does, swiftly tackled the issue head on when it was suggested this week's young squad would be keen to 'make a statement' in England's backyard.

"You guys love saying that," Hansen said. "I remember we lost in 2012 to England and it was 'oh this is going to ruin your World Cup'. There's so much water to go under the bridge. Things like that aren't even on our mind."

Hansen was warmer in his praise for Twickenham as a venue, though couldn't resist a subtle jibe about the revenue disparity which has become a hot topic in regards to the Samoan team of late.

The Samoan union is close to bankruptcy. Its players will earn £650 ($1255 NZD) each, while England's pocket £22,000 ($42,483) from their match at Twickenham.

Under the established revenue arrangement which sees the home nation retain gate earnings, that is essentially deemed fair and equal in the eyes of those running the game.

"It's one of the great grounds in world rugby and it holds a lot of people so it will have a great atmosphere. I'm not sure if they'll sing swing low... but they can if they want to.

"People are excited about rugby in England and that's a credit to the rugby union and the England team. It would be nice if we had the population to fill stadiums up like that too; then we'd have a bit more money... England might want to share a bit eh?"

As for Jones, his name was inevitable lobbed into the conversation. Last week when he announced his squad for the November internationals Jones praised the All Blacks for setting the bar about how to evolve between World Cups.


Jones mentioned expanding depth, experimenting with the way they've played - noting the All Blacks had slowed the pace at times when everyone else tried to speed things up - and deliberately putting themselves under pressure, all with the World Cup in mind.

"They are equipping themselves so if that happens, they are ready," Jones said at the time. "They can play the game slow too because they've got the best lineout in the world and the second-best or best scrum in the world."

Hansen did his best to turn on the charm and return serve.

"Eddie is on the ball - he's got a dossier on everything we're doing.

"Everyone has dossiers it just depends what label you put on it. We're trying to do things subtly different so we've got a game that's more complete. It's nice to get a compliment from Eddie. He's doing a good job with England and that's wonderful for rugby. I know everyone is excited about playing them next year, as they are of us. We will worry about that when the time comes.

"I don't think any human should be worried about getting a compliment. The hardest part about a compliment is accepting it. Most of us are a bit shy in taking it. We'll take it, particularly off Eddie because he's a good coach and he's a good man too."