If the rumours are true, Eddie Jones is already getting inside the mind of Steve Hansen. Rent free even.
In case you hadn’t heard, England is scheduled to play the All Blacks in December in what has already been dubbed the unofficial world title match. It will be the first time the sides have met since 8 November 2014 (New Zealand won 24-21)
But it is not a World Cup; it is actually just like every other rugby union international in November.
But Jones has announced that he’s got all sorts of post-brexit pounds to chuck at the 2019 World Cup
That’s fine, although it is hardly like a club team that can use that cash to go out and but players. But Jones is smart enough to know that he’s pretty good at mind games and history would indicate that All Black teams are at their weakest when they let other sides’ plans get inside their heads.
The rumours doing the rounds are that Hansen & co are starting to focus on this test a little more than they should do.
They are talking to the Super Rugby teams about having three mini training camps during next year’s Super Rugby competition. Three of them.
This is unprecedented in a non-World Cup year.
Unlike previous World Cup control freak experiments the compromise is not to stop them playing games but rather have camps early in the week so they can monitor progress.
Needless to say this is disruptive for the franchises, and given that it’s logistically likely to be around the weeks New Zealand sides are playing each other, it’s actually a huge pain in the arse for those sides.
But most of all it’s a psychological victory for Jones. The All Blacks management has blinked and, as an aside we once more have a devalued Super Rugby competition.