Forget the Super Rugby test in Tokyo last week, the Confetti Cap jibes, the promotional aspects of a match that we all knew was included in the schedule for two major purposes - learner and earner - and you've got to say it succeeded big time at both.

This weekend we're back to business with the first of perhaps the two most important All Black tests all year, England at Twickers before Ireland in Dublin.

If you thought away Argentina and South Africa in consecutive weekends was a tough ask, these two are going to raise the bar again.

At least with our SAANZAR rivals we get another crack at them next year, as far as the Northern Hemisphere goes though this is our last chance to get up close and physical before the Japan RWC.


So what do these games mean then?

In a year's time not very much. But right here right now rather a lot in terms of bragging rights if nothing else. Put it this way, it would be very uncomfortable to lost to either, utterly disastrous to lose to them both.

Can you imagine the the fallout if we did? Well don't, because it's not going to happen.

The All Blacks do not lose two matches in a row. Can you even remember the last time that happened?

Let me tell you. 2011 it was the final two tests before we hosted the World Cup and after thrashing both South Africa and Australia here in NZ, we sent weakened sides to Port Elizabeth and Brisbane and dumped both games. Before that it was 2009 when the Saffas beat us three times on the trot.

Point being, since 2011 we've barely lost at all, seven times in fact in the last seven years with 2017 being the only time it's happened twice in the same calendar year.

Make no mistake these games are hideously important.

Beating England at Twickenham is a must. Essential. Absolutely 100% utterly vitally crucial.


World order must be maintained. We cannot allow these teams a sniff, a whiff, a skerrick of hope before the big dance in 12 months time.

And trouncing those hurrah-Henry-rah-rah-rugger-bugger's at Twickers is the best whack smack bumshellack in the sport.

How good are we right now?

How good are they?

The next two weeks should tell us everything we need to know.

On paper the Poms have no show.