All Blacks coach Steve Hansen praises England after defeat
New Zealand coach Steve Hansen lauded England as potential World Cup winners after seeing his All Blacks side demolished 38-21 on Saturday.
Despite starting as huge underdogs to the world number one visitors, the hosts ran in three tries in eight second-half minutes for the victory.
"There were two teams capable of winning the World Cup out there," Hansen acknowledged.
"No excuses, we got beaten by the better side. Full credit to them."
Prior to the 17-point win England had lost successive autumn internationals to Australia and South Africa, with captain Chris Robshaw sustaining public criticism for perceived poor decision-making.
But Hansen dismissed the allegations, reserving only praise for the hosts.
"This is a good England side," he insisted. "You should get behind them and back them a bit. They have shown what they can do and if you back them it will make them even more dangerous.
"I think I have been to every England game at Twickenham since I was 14. This was by far the best I've seen. It's the best performance by an England side considering the opposition and considering what this team has been through, particularly over the last two weeks. It was an absolutely astonishing performance to win by 17 points."
"They thoroughly deserved their victory and should be proud of what they have achieved with magnificent football."
The New Zealand squad had suffered from a sickness bug in midweek, with All Blacks number eight Kieran Read admitting at the time that the players had a "guided tour of the bathrooms" at their base.
But at Twickenham on Saturday New Zealand captain Richie McCaw made no excuses.
"No, I don't think [it had an affect]," he said. "If we had fallen away at the end you might have said that, but we felt fine in that department.
"We just struggled to get into the game. We were on the back foot and put under pressure. Even when we got back in the game they didn't panic. I was impressed with the way they played."