England head coach Eddie Jones insists his side are itching to face world champions New Zealand after backing governing body the Rugby Football Union’s (RFU) stance on arranging an out-of-window match between the two heavyweights.
The teams are not scheduled to play each other until the autumn of 2018 but the RFU confirmed last week that it was pursuing the opportunity for England to face the All Blacks in November.
Jones’s side failed in their bid to usurp New Zealand and set a new global record of 19 successive Test wins after losing 13-9 to Ireland in Dublin on Saturday, a defeat which also wrecked their attempt at securing back-to-back Six Nations Grand Slams.
“If that much mooted game comes across we are very keen to play them and will be raring to go,” said Jones. “There are a lot of discussions to go.
“You’ve got discussions with New Zealand, you’ve got discussions with the England rugby community to go, so there’s still a fair bit of work to go. If the opportunity comes up, we’ll be raring to go.”
Victory against Joe Schmidt’s Ireland would have ensured that England became only the sixth team in history to secure consecutive Grand Slams, and first since Jean-Claude Skrela’s France in 1998.
But Jones, who expects at least 15 of his players to make the British and Irish Lions squad to face New Zealand this summer, was philosophical about his maiden defeat as England boss.
Jones has previously asserted that his side were not afraid to lose and suggested it was a necessary step to take as they build towards becoming the No1 side on the planet and winning the 2019 World Cup in Japan.
“This was like a World Cup final and we weren’t good enough,” he added. “But we’re better off having that experience today than in Yokohama Stadium at 8pm on 2 November 2019.”