(Reuters) - England can successfully defend their Six Nations title next year and break New Zealand’s top-tier record 18-match winning streak, All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen has said.
Under the guidance of Australian Eddie Jones (13 wins), England have extended their run of consecutive victories to 14, just four shy of the record the All Blacks set this year before a defeat to Ireland in Chicago last month.
“They’ve got games against Italy and you’d expect them to beat Italy and I’d expect them to beat Scotland so they’ve then got the Irish game, the French game and the Welsh game,” Hansen told New Zealand’s Radio Sport of England’s upcoming schedule.
“They’ll be toughies but we know they’re capable of beating them. They went through last year undefeated so it’s there for them to have a crack at.”
England begin the defence of the Six Nations title against France at Twickenham on Feb. 4, before playing Wales (Feb. 11), Italy (Feb. 26), Scotland (March 11) and Ireland (March 18).
A second successive Grand Slam triumph would extend their winning run to 19 internationals.
Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by John O'Brien