England-New Zealand … from Black Caps to Back Claps

The All Blacks were impressed by the Black Caps’ dignified response to their loss in the Cricket World Cup final to England. (Reuters)

Although unlikely, there is a chance the All Blacks and England could find themselves in a similar situation to the cricket world cup super-tie no-win; though not the farcical end to a thriller when it concerns rugby. If the scores are locked at fulltime in Yokohama when the rugby sides meet Saturday, extra time of 10 minutes each way will be played. If, after that, the scores are still the same 10 minutes of sudden death will be played. And if the scores are still tied, a kicking duel between five men from each side will be staged to determine a winner.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen, however, thought it unlikely the game will be decided by a kicking contest after two extra periods."Have we prepared for it? Yes, that would be the answer to that question. You would be foolish if you didn't prepare for it," Hansen said."But I would be highly surprised that after 80 minutes, an extra 10 minutes each way and then another 10 minutes. By that stage there will be bugger all people standing, that someone hasn't scored some points. But funnier things have happened, haven't they?"

The most famous example of a Rugby World Cup game being forced into extra time was in 1995 when All Blacks lost the final 15-12 to the Springboks after Joel Stransky kicked a drop goal.

All Black Sam Whitelock recalls catching up with the Black Caps after they returned cupless but unconquered. "It was a pretty amazing game to watch, obviously we weren't that happy with the result," Whitelock said about the cricket match.

Prior to the final, the ABs playing in Argentina then had posed for a team picture and sent out wishes to the Black Caps. "How good will it be when you guys stuff the Poms on the home of cricket, let's go lads," captain Kieran Read had roared with fist pumps and loud cheers from his team-mates. The bizarre finish was to leave them heartbroken, but the ABs were impressed with the dignified response.

"I saw a few of the cricket boys afterwards, and they were pretty excited about how close they got. And they know that, hopefully, when New Zealand do get to win that Cricket World Cup that they have really set up the generations to follow them. It was quite humbling to talk to them afterwards. How their mindset was after a pretty close loss."

Jones hints at spy-gate in rollicking presser

The ABs are gunning for their third World crown in rugby and not quite thinking of losing to the English.

England coach Eddie Jones is trying every trick in the book to make them think of only that. Speaking to the press on Wednesday, he first alleged the Kiwis were spying on his team.

He declared that the England camp were aware their session was being filmed by someone in an apartment overlooking his side's training session. Jones linked the All Blacks with it and then backtracked slightly by saying there was no value in doing so. He also admitted to doing it himself in 2001. "I've got no idea, mate. Mitch [New Zealand assistant John Mitchell] could have been one of them. He's got about 15 different disguises. Look, everyone knows what everyone else does. There are no surprises in the game any more. There was definitely someone in the apartment block filming but it might have been a Japanese fan."

Asked whether he would do the same, Jones said: "Yeah we've got someone there (at AB training session) now mate.I haven't done it since 2001. We used to do it. You just don't need to do it any more mate because you see everything. You can watch everyone's training on YouTube or whatever. There's no value in doing it, absolutely zero."

Asked whether he needed to bulk up his security detail owing to the spying, Jones said: "We don't, mate. We only have Prince Harry's and we've got the ex-prime minister's; just two of them. Lovely chaps."

His final word was reserved for Hansen, saying All Blacks were "consistently good" because they did the basics well. And that Hansen had run "good campaigns" before.

"We don't have any pressure, mate… no one thinks we can win. There's 120 million Japanese people out there whose second team are the All Blacks. There's no pressure on us. We just have to have a great week, relax and enjoy it. They're looking for their third World Cup so that brings pressure."

He then took it a notch higher.

"I don't think they're vulnerable but the pressure is real. The busiest guy for them will be Gilbert Enoka, the mental skills coach. They've got to think about winning this three times. It's potentially the last game for their greatest ever coach [Steve Hansen], and for their greatest ever captain [Kieran Read]. They will be talking about it the whole week. It's always much harder to defend the World Cup and they'll be thinking about that."

He added: "Someone has to ask questions, mate because the New Zealand media doesn't. You guys are just fans with keyboards, so someone's got to ask them some questions about what's going on."

Asked what Hansen would make of it all, Jones replied: "He'll laugh, I'm sure he will."