England coach Eddie Jones has described South Africa's shock victory over the All Blacks as great for world rugby but resisted the urge to stoke fires ahead of a showdown with Steve Hansen's men later this year.
"The All Blacks' losses are quite cyclical. They're batting 90 per cent. They lose one test every year. Everyone's excited but they're still a great team," Jones said today in response to the All Blacks' 36-34 defeat in Wellington.
England and the All Blacks will clash at Twickenham on November 10, the first time in four years the two sides will meet as well as the first under Jones.
"It was a great effort from South Africa. The thing that always strikes me – and I've been coaching 20 years – is the value of emotion in our game. South Africa are under the pump, the coach is going to get sacked, they go to Wellington, they can't win. They come out with this unbelievable defensive effort. New Zealand are just slightly off their game, and they win.
"The test is: can you keep batting at that intensity? At the World Cup you've got to win seven games in a row.
"Who's going to have the consistency to get up there and challenge. We're aiming to be that team. Like any great team they are beatable. Every team is beatable but you've got to have the consistency to sustain that effort.
"South Africa have done it this year but can they sustain that? We've seen Australia do it last year, we've seen Ireland do it."
England's chance arrives soon.
With newly appointed assistant coach John Mitchell they may be better placed to cause an upset. But with two big coaching personalities, they could just as easily implode over the next 12 months.
All bets are off which way this dice will roll.
THE MITCHELL GAMBLE
Mitchell's arrival in England camp next week shapes as something of make or break for Jones' coaching tenure.
Winning one of the past six tests is dire for any major test nation, let alone one with the world's greatest resources.
Jones is, therefore, under significant pressure to find an immediate when England welcomes the Springboks, All Blacks, Japan and Wallabies to Twickenham in November.
And, so, after many of his core management team deserted him, one year out from the World Cup Jones has turned to Mitchell, a man he has known for 20 years, to help spark a revival and restore confidence.
It is an intriguing move.
Whatever lavish praise Jones shelled out today there is no denying Mitchell's polarising history. His time with the Lions in South Africa and Perth-based Western Force were marred by allegations of player mistreatment and revolt which, ultimately, led to his exit.
With Mitchell on board, it seems England can expect more stick than carrot.
"I don't know the circumstances, unfortunately what you read is not necessarily the truth, as some politicians say," Jones said after naming his 36-man squad for a three-day camp in Bristol. "I'm sure he's had difficult situations with teams - we all have. Any coach who's been successful has, but you move on and learn from it and I don't expect that to be an issue with our team or with John.
"Do we need that? No. We need good relationships. That's not a hand on the knee and lovey-dovey. You need to have robust conversations. And robust conversations drive better performance, which is what we are after."
With 17 jobs in the last 24 years, Mitchell has a colourful CV but his long-time association with Jones now sees him take on the defensive responsibilities previously held by Paul Gustard, who left to coach Harlequins this season.
England's RFU forked out £200,000 (NZD$398,000) to extract him from the Bulls, and despite Jones suggesting he always wanted to recruit another experienced coach, the disruptive turnover of management makes Mitchell's appointment appear the last roll of the dice.
"If you look at the last three World Cups, how many senior coaches has each team had that's won them? 2007, 2011, 2015 all had two senior coaches and I think it's vital for the World Cup so I've always had the plan to find the right person," Jones claimed. "Some circumstance you can control and some circumstances you don't."
Jones first coached against Mitchell in 2000, when he landed the Chiefs job, and had no worries about the former All Blacks mentor's ability to take a step back into the No 2 role.
"No. I've done it, and it's easy to do. When you love coaching, you just want to coach. I've never met a bloke who loves coaching as much as him. So he will understand his role very quickly, just like I did when I did it.
"I know that every time I coach against a team that he's coached he's improved that team immeasurably so it was almost a bit of a no-brainer for me.
"He was the father of transition rugby. Look back at his 2003 [All Blacks] team, they evolved transition rugby, which is such an important part of the game now. To have a guy who was involved in that add to our game, which is not a strong area, it's a great fit for us.
"He's a strong guy, too, an opinionated guy and we need that in the coaching box. Coaching is always about – at our level particularly – relationships and getting organised.
"He's got a first-class track record. He's had some dud runs, we've all had that. It's part of learning.
"He can help back-rowers, he has played No 8 for the All Blacks, coached the forwards, he can help Steve [Borthwick]."
Jones appreciates more than most how quickly fortunes change.
From riding a record-equalling 18-match unbeaten run to credible claims his job was under threat, he now needs Mitchell, who worked with Sir Clive Woodward's England from 1997-2000, to help swing the pendulum back.