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Hamilton says England can beat All Blacks

Saturday, October 28, 2017

EDINBURGH - Former Scotland lock Jim Hamilton says England are the inform team in world rugby and would beat the All Blacks if the two nations clashed this year.

The Rugby Championship winners and the Six Nations champions won't clash until next year, having not played each other since 2014.

England have won 19 out of 20 since the last Rugby World Cup, which included a 17-test winning streak under coach Eddie Jones.

They sit second in the World Rugby rankings behind the All Blacks but don't host the world champions next month with New Zealand playing France, Scotland and Wales.

Hamilton, a host of the Rugby Pod, told Martin Devlin that if England and the All Blacks were meeting on this year's end-of-year tour, the hosts would pull off the win.

"I think England would win. I think that the players England have got now and I'm saying this more on a superficial level because I haven't seen enough Super Rugby to comment on the standard, the Champions Cup rugby that the likes of Owen Farrell, Maro Itoje, the level they've been playing is through the roof in terms of intensity and in terms of class," he said.

"The England team is going from strength to strength and I think if they played in the autumn, I wouldn't say they'd definitely win, but I'd say if they were to play this is probably their best chance to win.

"It would be interesting to see in a year's time where New Zealand is as a team. England will be better again. Hopefully New Zealand will be better again and it would make for an unbelievable game. But I think if they were to play this autumn, I think England is probably the form team in the world."

Hamilton, who played 63 Tests for Scotland, said the All Blacks' defeat to the Wallabies last Saturday, their second loss of the year, was a great outcome for the sport.

The former lock said the British and Irish Lions showed a blueprint of how to defeat the All Blacks in June, and the Wallabies followed suit.

"I think it's great for rugby that they lost a game. They're not immortal are they? The All Blacks aren't immortal and from a neutral fan of Southern Hemisphere rugby, I'm glad Australia won. Everyone thought they were on the way saw how much it meant to them. It was like they won the cup final.

"The All Blacks are going to lose games. I'm sure that's going to help them re-evaluate what they need to do to be the best team in the world.

"I think we've seen their performances haven't been at the level what they were before the British and Irish Lions tour in the summer.

"I think there was also a little bit of a blue print of what the Lions did to show the All Blacks are beatable. ast weekend, I think everyone wanted Australia to win that game and they did.

"Let's be honest, New Zealand is still the number one team in the world and I think it's great for rugby that they've lost a game," he said.

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