Eddie Jones compares the praise England have received from New Zealand coach Steve Hansen to the fairy tale of Little Red Riding Hood being deceived by the wolf.
Hansen congratulated the RBS 6 Nations champions for retaining their title by overwhelming Scotland 61-21, despite seeing the All Blacks’ record of 18 successive Test wins equalled at Twickenham on Saturday.
The mastermind of the 2015 World Cup triumph insisted England are finally fulfilling their potential, playing the “sort of rugby people want to see”, and offered Jones the message of “well done, champ. It’s thoroughly deserved, well done”.
In a frustrating quirk of the international fixture list, the game’s top two teams are being kept apart until autumn 2018 when a seismic showdown is to be staged at Twickenham.
Jones is wary of Hansen’s approval, however, as the rival coaches exchange words for the first time since England’s rise as a genuine threat to New Zealand’s global dominance.
“It’s a bit like red riding hood and the wolf when the wolf comes dressed up as the grandmother…..” Jones said.
“You always have to be careful when All Black coaches compliment you, you always have to be careful.”
If Ireland are toppled in Dublin on Saturday, as well eclipsing the All Blacks’ 18-Test milestone Dylan Hartley’s men will become only the sixth team to complete back-to-back Grand Slams.
The seven-try scattering of Scotland – the best attacking display under Jones – has powered England towards the finishing line, but it took a “cleansing” discussion involving the entire squad and coaches a fortnight ago to reignite the champions after an unconvincing first half of the tournament.
“We had a bit of a cleansing meeting when we were in camp in Oxford,” Jones said. “It was about accepting that we’ve been successful. To me the English are quite reserved and they actually struggle quite a bit with success.
“As an Australian I think the English are very polite and reserved. And they struggle to actually carry that success around.
“What we said, and we had a great discussion, is that we have to acknowledge we’ve been successful and it’s how much we want to be great now.”