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All Blacks confirmed in England's 2018 autumn calendar

September 14, 2017

England will face New Zealand for the first time in four years next autumn after the All Blacks were confirmed in the Old Mutual Wealth autumn international fixture list.

The world champions will be playing at Twickenham on November 10th 2018, a fixture sandwiched between encounters with South Africa on November 3rd and 2019 Rugby World Cup hosts Japan on November 17th. Australia will complete a mouth-watering set of fixtures with their visit on November 24th. 

Although Lions fans were able to enjoy the side's thrilling 1-1 draw in New Zealand this summer, there can be few more anticipated matches than the long-awaited renewal of hostilities between what many judges believe to be the two strongest sides in world rugby at the moment.

New Zealand set a world record of 18 successive Test wins in 2015, a run that included their World Cup win in England, before finally losing to Ireland for the first time ever. England, however, managed to match the run before they, too, finally succumbed to the men in green. 

Although England's own record-breaking run actually began in the World Cup as Stuart Lancaster's final game as head coach brought a victory over Uruguay in Manchester, it was under Eddie Jones that England have made huge strides.

With a Six Nations Grand Slam and a whitewash of Australia in his first year, Jones brought a huge improvement to the side and with a second Six Nations title following this time, optimism is high that England are building a side to beat the best in the world - and that means New Zealand. Therefore, the match will be an acid test of just how much progress England have made under Jones.

Jones commented that he will be aiming to win all four matches, and said the series will give the team "a really good indicator of where we are as a squad, a year out from the Rugby World Cup."

He added: "Over the next year we need to continue to develop a bulletproof side that can find ways to win in matches, and we will have to work hard and be smart in what we do to bridge the gap between us and the All Blacks.

"Our ambition is to be the number one team in the world going into the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan."

Before all that, however, fans booking corporate hospitality for this year's Old Mutual autumn internationals can enjoy seeing England take on Argentina on November 11th, Australia on November 18th and Samoa on November 25th. 

Fans studying the form of Australia and Argentina in the Rugby Championship so far this year will have seen some interesting results so far.

In the first week, Australia were humbled 54-34 at home by a rampant All Blacks team and Argentina lost 35-17 to South Africa in Port Elizabeth. The return fixtures saw Argentina beaten again, this time 41-23, but Australia put up a much better fight in the Bledisloe Cup game in Auckland before the All Blacks sneaked home 34-29. 

Last weekend, New Zealand made it three out of three with a 39-22 win over the Pumas, but Australia followed their big effort in Auckland with a thrilling 23-all draw against South Africa in Perth last weekend.

Image: Getty, from Keith Prowse subscription

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