23 Mar 2017

All Blacks coach OK'ed England test

12:23 pm on 23 March 2017

The All Blacks coach Steve Hansen wouldn't have stood in the way of the world champions playing England in November, according to New Zealand Rugby boss Steve Tew.

Steve Hansen and Kieran Read celebrate the All Blacks' win over the Wallabies.

Steve Hansen and Kieran Read celebrate the All Blacks' win over the Wallabies. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The All Blacks will play the Barbarians at Twickenham on November 4th as scheduled, dashing hopes of an end of year encounter between New Zealand and the Six Nations champions.

England coach Eddie Jones was keen for the match and Tew says while Hansen was reluctant to add another test to a busy schedule he accepted it would have been a big revenue earner.

"Steve and Ian and the group know we've got to play extra games and so we work very co-operatively with them around making sure we get a balance between the maximum revenue we can generate. He (Hansen) said if that's where it lands (All Blacks playing England instead of Barbarians) and that's the option that's best for everybody (NZR) then we'll (All Blacks) do that, but it will be a challenge."

Tew said a test against England would have been far more lucrative than the Barbarians and provided NZR with a much larger chunk of cash.

However despite the obvious financial benefits Tew said playing the Barbarians was always NZR's preference.

He said the end of year tour's are notoriously hard on the All Blacks and says NZR's desire to protect their top players from burnout outweighed the significant financial gains the England match would have provided.

"There's no question we would have got more money playing England than the Barbarians. But our preference, given the All Blacks have got three very competitive Lions tests in front of them and then home and away against Australia, South Africa and Argentina - and I don't have to remind you how tough that is - and then we've still got to play France, Scotland and Wales. Another big game (against England) was not our preference.

"We're incredibly mindful of how hard the end of year tour is on our players. The term Steve and Ian (Hansen and Foster) used with the board is that we crawled across the line in Europe last year, another game at the end of this year would not be sensible."