England to play NZ in autumn 2018 for 1st meeting in 4 years

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Manusamoa Tuilagi brake the defence. Steinlager Series. 2nd Test All Blacks v England at Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, New Zealand. Saturday 14 June 2014.

Manusamoa Tuilagi brake the defence. Steinlager Series. 2nd Test All Blacks v England at Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, New Zealand. Saturday 14 June 2014. (Photo: photosport.co.nz)

LONDON (AP) — England will play New Zealand for the first time in four years as part of a grueling set of autumn tests in 2018 for the northern hemisphere's top rugby team.

The English have won 19 of their 20 test matches under Eddie Jones since the 2015 Rugby World Cup, facing all major nations except the top-ranked All Blacks in that run due to a quirk in the international fixture list.

Jones has wanted to measure the progress of his team by taking on New Zealand, and there was an aborted attempt to arrange a match between the sport's two current powerhouses this autumn.

England also will play South Africa, Australia and Japan at Twickenham in the autumn of 2018, a year out from the World Cup in Japan.

"Over the next year, we need to continue to develop a bullet-proof side that can find ways to win in matches," Jones said. "Our ambition is to be the No. 1 team in the world going into the World Cup in Japan."

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