RFU confirm interest in hosting England vs New Zealand this year after British and Irish Lions tour

England are not due to meet the All Blacks until 2018 but could now face off a year ahead of schedule

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England are looking to structure a late deal to bring New Zealand to Twickenham later this year, raising the possibility of the two best teams in the world facing-off one year ahead of schedule.

The current Six Nations champions, who will attempt to win the Grand Slam this weekend against Ireland, are not due to meet the All Blacks until the autumn international series in 2018. However, the Rugby Football Union [RFU] have opened the door to a possible encounter on 4 November 2017, a date that would fall out of the current Test window.

England are already due to face Australia, Argentina and Samoa in 2018, but could line-up a possible fourth match against the All Blacks if the deal can be secured. The reigning World Cup holders are currently penned in to face the Barbarians on the same date as the one that would suit England, but the prospect of switching that match to one against Eddie Jones’s side is currently being investigated by the RFU.

The Independent understands that talks have already taken place about an addition England fixture taken place this autumn, which would come soon after the British and Irish Lions return from New Zealand in this summer’s tour.

"We are scheduled to play New Zealand in 2018 and if an opportunity came up to play them before then we would pursue it," an RFU spokesman confirmed on Wednesday.

England would have to pay New Zealand a match fee due to the fact that the fixture would fall outside of the recognised Test window for the 2017 autumn internationals, while player welfare would also come into question given that World Rugby are currently looking into the prospect of changing the season programme to cut down on the number of games players are having to turn out for, with a new international rugby calendar being discussed.

The clamour for a match between England and New Zealand has grown rapidly given the former matched the latter’s world record winning streak last weekend, with Jones looking to guide his side to a 19th consecutive victory this weekend in Dublin to break the All Blacks’ feat.

The two nations have not met since 2014, when England toured the Land of the Long White Cloud in a three-Test summer series along with an autumn international return Test at Twickenham, and England haven’t beaten the All Blacks since their famous 38-21 home victory in December 2012.

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