Magnanimous in defeat, Eddie Jones believes England are on track to be the world's best team.

That may be a stretch, but after pushing the All Blacks, the world's No 1 ranked team for nine straight years, to the brink at Twickenham with heavily depleted stocks, Jones has every reason to puff out his chest.

Publicly at least, Jones refused to take umbrage with the match-turning TMO decision from South African Marius Jonker which rubbed out Sam Underhill's late try.

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While French referee Jerome Garces failed to follow protocols issued by World Rugby, ultimately the right decision was made, with Courtney Lawes ruled offside and Jones, therefore, had to bite his tongue.

"I don't comment on those decisions I leave that up to that guy and if he can't make the right decision with 10 replays then who can," Jones said after the 16-15 defeat.

"Sometimes the game loves you sometimes the game doesn't love you. You've got to accept that if you stay in the fight long enough the game will love you. We're prepared to stay in the game so we'll get some love further down the track don't worry."

England's Owen Farrell disputes a penalty call during the rugby union international match between England and New Zealand at Twickenham stadium in London. Photo / AP
England's Owen Farrell disputes a penalty call during the rugby union international match between England and New Zealand at Twickenham stadium in London. Photo / AP

Lawes was disappointed the call went against him.

"It's not my decision at the end of the day so close margins unlucky not to get that one but it is what it is," replacement English lock said. "I need to look at the rules of the game but it means nothing now you've just got to get on to next week."

Jones backed Owen Farrell's on-field decision to turn down several shots at goal in the second half in favour of chasing another 13-man rolling maul try.

"One hundred per cent. The players feel the game, we don't feel the game we see the game, so if they feel there's an opportunity to crack the opposition they've got to go for it, otherwise why do we have leaders in the team?

"We're obviously devastated but you take the good with the bad. We will learn a lot from that. We had opportunities to win the game, we didn't take them, they did, so they deserve to win the game. Full credit to New Zealand, but a good rugby test match tussle that we're only going to improve from."

England's Maro Itoje, center, reacts with his teammates after the rugby union international match between England and New Zealand at Twickenham. photo / AP
England's Maro Itoje, center, reacts with his teammates after the rugby union international match between England and New Zealand at Twickenham. photo / AP

With 17 players in the casualty ward or out through suspension, including the influential Vunipola brothers and the destructive Manu Tuilagi, Jones was bullish about England's prospects from here.

"It's a really good step forward because you benchmark yourself against New Zealand. They've been together three months we've been together three weeks. They had 800 caps we had 400. We've got to work harder and fix the things we need to and if we do that, we're on the road to be the best team in the world which is what we always set out to be.

"The longer we're together the better we're going to get. The other great thing is we're increasing our depth all the time."

England started the match brilliantly to force repeat errors from the All Blacks and establish a 15-0 lead and while they could not finish the job, Jones felt they dominated the closing stages.

"I thought we played the final 20 exceptionally well. If you look at any sort of metrics we won that final 20. We take enormous confidence from that. That's where the All Blacks generally run away from teams but they couldn't – they couldn't break us. In fact I think we finished the stronger. If it kept going for another five minutes then maybe we would've got them.

"We're disappointed but we're excited about where we're going."