England and the All Blacks will take clumps from each other this weekend in Tokyo. It will be a battle royale. Afterwards, though, if their coaches are anything to go by at least, they will sit back and share a beer.

Steve Hansen and Eddie Jones swapping text messages before their sides clash is the ultimate contrast to what promises to be a furious semifinal between the arch-foes.

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"I said looking forward to seeing you and win, lose or draw we'll have a beer afterwards," Hansen said of the texts he exchanged with Jones.

Hansen last week revealed he caught up with Ireland defence coach Andy Farrell at the mid-point of the test week before the All Blacks dished out their punishing 46-14 victory to set up a meeting with England.

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While Hansen enjoys these relationships with others too, he's also not shy of firing the odd barb and it would not surprise if he and Jones trade verbal jibes at some stage this week.

Clearly, though, a great deal of genuine mutual respect exists between the two highly-regarded mentors.

"You see some of the banter which is really only to help promote the game as being 'oh these guys don't like each other' which couldn't be further from the truth.

Steve Hansen revealed him and Eddie Jones swapped texts ahead of the semifinals. Photo / Photosport
Steve Hansen revealed him and Eddie Jones swapped texts ahead of the semifinals. Photo / Photosport

"Coaches, regardless of whether you're playing against their team or not, go through the same emotions. You spend a lot of time in the same mental space. It's a game of footy, it's not life or death. The closer you are the more you communicate.

"It's like when you play against your brother or your sister, it's important, but it's not life-threatening."

Hansen went on to praise Jones' record in guiding Japan to their first World Cup upset over the Springboks in Brighton four years ago before he shifted to England and mentored them to their 18-match unbeaten run.

Asked why he respects Jones, Hansen said: "His passion, he loves the game. He's got a work ethic second to none – he put himself in hospital when he was here he worked that hard. Anyone who loves the game will get my support.

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England head coach Eddie Jones. Photo / Photosport
England head coach Eddie Jones. Photo / Photosport

"He's done a fantastic job with England. They've got a world record for most wins in test rugby along with ourselves. They've got a harder edge about them. He's been part of a winning World Cup team with South Africa, he's had the disappointment of losing to England when he was coaching Australia but to get to the final is being successful anyway, even if you don't win it.

"He's got to the ability to understand what's coming and he'll share those with his coaching and playing group."

Expanding on the tight-knit coaching community, Hansen emphasised the importance of leaving tensions on the field and putting the spirit of rugby above any grievances.

In the modern era teams entering their opponent's changing rooms and knocking back a few cold brews tend to happen far more at the amateur level.

"Rugby is a special game. Those of us that have been around long enough understand the game is bigger than everybody else. It's the game that's more important than all the coaches and players.

"Yes those people create and write the stories about the game but if we're true to the game those stories are always good ones.

"One of the greatest things about the game is the camaraderie, not only in your own team but that you get from being involved in a contest and sharing those moments and then moving onto the next one.

"The game has been professional for a wee while but if you look back in time, and this is where history is important, teams always shared those moments after tests together. It's something that is really important that we don't lose."


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