All Blacks vs England: Steve Hansen says test 'bigger than Lions series'

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen believes Sunday's (NZ time) test against England is more important than last year's British and Irish Lions tour.

New Zealand haven't played England for four years, but have nine players in their matchday 23 who were involved in last year's drawn Lions series.

The All Blacks' failure to beat Warren Gatland's tourists in a series that ended 1-1 after a 15-15 stalemate in the third and final test still rankles with Hansen.

The fact the All Blacks drew the Lions series, and because it has been four years since New Zealand have played England are the main reasons why Hansen thinks this test is massive.

"I think it's even bigger than that actually," Hansen said.

"The Lions tour has made it bigger because we weren't successful in only drawing the series. That, to us, wasn't successful. That's made this week have a sharper edge to it which is good.

"You've got to be reasonably stupid if you can't work out that this is going to be big. There are 80,000 people, it's all over the papers, everyone's talking about it, you can't get a ticket." 

All Blacks vs England: Steve Hansen says test 'bigger than Lions series'

Eight of the players named to face the All Blacks on Sunday were involved in the third and deciding Lions test in Auckland which adds more fuel to the fire for New Zealand.

The All Blacks have beaten England in their last two visits to Twickenham, and 13 of the last 14 head-to-head matches, but Eddie Jones will take heart from the fact that the near-invincible Kiwis lost to South Africa in Wellington in September.

Hansen is expecting a physical encounter, similar to what he saw when England scraped past South Africa last weekend.

"I don't think they [England] will deviate too much off what they normally do. They will play a physical game up front.

"Their kicking game is pretty good and their aerial skills to support that are good. And they'll look to wear you down, they won't go away.

"So if you don't take your opportunities that come when you've got momentum then it's going to be a dogfight."


Join us at 4am Sunday for live updates of All Blacks vs England at Twickenham.