Eddie Jones' suggestion that England were spied on ahead of the Rugby World Cup semi-finals was branded "the best clickbait in the world" by New Zealand boss Steve Hansen.

Australian Jones this week said England were aware of someone filming from an apartment near their training base in Chiba, though he did not accuse last-four opponents the All Blacks directly.

Hansen, who named made one change to his line-up for Saturday's match in Yokohama by replacing Sam Cane with Scott Barrett, was unsurprised by the media's reaction.

"Eddie and I both know that all is fair in love and war and there is nothing better in war than throwing a wee distraction out that you guys [the media] can't resist," said Hansen.

"It's the best clickbait in the world: 'Someone's spying on us.' He didn't call at us. He was very deliberate in not doing that.

"He talked about it being somebody else. It was probably the same bloke who videoed us when we were there, but everyone has jumped on it and he's been successful in getting the clickbait.

"He was very particular about what he said, that someone had filmed their training. He said it could have been a supporter. He didn't say New Zealand did it."

Hansen bears Jones no ill will over the comments and revealed the two have since been in touch.

"It's only a mind game if you buy into it. We're not buying into it," said Hansen. "It's allowed us to have a good laugh. I'm chuckling away.

"He’s been in touch with me, but not about spying. I get a text, 'How are you going, Steve?'. 'Pretty good, thanks Eddie.' He's laughing, I'm laughing. You guys are getting what you want because everyone is clicking on the bait."

Jones also claimed that while England can play with freedom in the semi-finals, "the pressure will be chasing [New Zealand] down the street" as they attempt to win the World Cup for a third time in succession.

Hansen replied: "I have talked about pressure since I have been All Blacks coach. Early in our history we probably ran away from it and ... let it chase us down the street.

"These days we acknowledge it's there. We get it every game ... doesn't matter if it's a quarter-final, semi-final or a Test match.

"It would be very naive not to acknowledge [the pressure] to be on both sides."

Lockie Ferguson will make a timely return from injury for a New Zealand XI in two Twenty20 warm-up matches against England.

The paceman has been out of action since suffering a fractured thumb training in Sri Lanka last month.

Ferguson is now fully fit and will face Eoin Morgan's side in a team captained by Colin Munro at Bert Sutcliffe Oval in Lincoln on Sunday and next Tuesday.

He said: "The thumb has healed well and I'm looking forward to having a hit-out at Lincoln.

"While it's obviously frustrating to be sidelined, it's actually been good to take some time to freshen up and be able to return with plenty of motivation and energy.

"It's the beginning of a really big summer of cricket and it's exciting to be starting it against a quality England side."

A five-match T20 series between the Black Caps and England starts in Christchurch on November 1.

John Mitchell wished New Zealand good luck if they want to spy on England ahead of the Rugby World Cup semi-final but says it would not give them an advantage.

England head coach Eddie Jones claimed someone was spotted filming England's training session on Tuesday.

Jones said it may have been a Japanese fan seen in an apartment overlooking the pitch, but admitted he used to spy on opponents.

Defence coach Mitchell does not believe the All Blacks would gain anything from seeing how England were preparing for a titanic battle in Yokohama City on Saturday.

"If that is what they want to do, and that is the way they want to prepare, good luck to them," the New Zealander said.

He added: "We just happened to be training where there are apartments above our tiny two-metre fence, so I am not sure about what the use of the tarpaulins are.

"The facilities have been excellent but it's an area where people live and there is the odd red light around. There was one up in the corner, which was a bit suspicious.

"It doesn't really worry me. This game is so dynamic now so I don't see any advantage in spying on a team."

Mitchell revealed spying is not uncommon at the highest level of rugby.

"When I took over the All Blacks in 2001 we had a manager who was highly military and he loved surveying the whole area," he said.

"To me, you can get too involved in it and create an anxiety in your group. There is enough pressure at this level without chasing around some blokes that might be in a building with a camera.

"I was with Sir Clive Woodward when we were going for a Grand Slam against Scotland and we chased somebody from one of the papers around the corner and caught him in a hedge.

"He was pretty unlucky actually but that was when the game was a lot different to what it is now. I've seen coaches spy, I've had other coaches spy. I've had mates spy as well, but I don't see any advantage."

Michael Cheika believes his successor as Wallabies head coach should "definitely" be Australian.

Australia were dumped out of the Rugby World Cup in a 40-16 quarter-final defeat to England on Saturday.

Cheika brought his five-year stint in charge, which included a run to the World Cup final in 2015, to an end after the defeat.

New Zealand coaches Jamie Joseph and Dave Rennie have been linked with the post but, when touching down after flying back from Japan, Cheika told reporters Rugby Australia should look at home for their next appointment.

"I think definitely we should be pushing for an Australian coach," he said. 

"It's not up to me but I think we should be backing and supporting Australian coaches wherever possible."

Cheika had said before the tournament that he would step down if Australia failed to lift the trophy and he insists there was never a chance he would change his decision.

"We came second last time and I figure [after] four years you've got to come first next time," he added. 

"You can't call it and then change your mind afterwards because that's genuinely what we wanted to do - go there and win."

Skipper Michael Hooper paid tribute to Cheika's contribution on and off the training field.

"Cheik's been amazing, me personally I owe that man a lot," he said. "The passion that he represented us or stood up for us all the time and just generally wanted the best for Australian rugby. 

"Not just for the team, not just for him selfishly being the coach of the team but wanting the best for Australian rugby. 

"After he's long gone, to leave something that's positive, he's always believed in that and I think he will. 

"He's made me a better person, not just a rugby player. So, I've got a lot to thank him for that."

Kieran Read is "100 per cent" fit for New Zealand's Rugby World Cup semi-final against England, insists head coach Steve Hansen.

Influential skipper Read was absent from the All Blacks' training session on Tuesday to spark fears over his availability for the mouth-watering showdown in Yokohama.

However, Hansen says Read was nursing a sore calf that New Zealand did not want to exacerbate in wet conditions.

"There is no issue. You didn't see him train because he was in the gym on the bike," Hansen said. 

"He got a tight calf from the game the other day and we didn't want to put him out on a wet track."

Pressed on if Read will face England, Hansen replied: "Yeah, 100 per cent."

Team-mate Sam Whitelock had a somewhat cheekier retort when asked about Read's absence from training.

"A bit of the banter around the team is that he didn't want to get wet today!" he said. 

"I'm sure he'll be fine. He's a tough man, he just didn't want to get wet."

England coach Eddie Jones described New Zealand as "the greatest team there's ever been in sport" ahead of the last-four meeting.

Hansen, while grateful for the compliment from his long-time friend, feels there may be a bit of kidology at play from a man renowned for a love of mind games.

"That's a really nice statement," Hansen said with a grin. "I'm sure Eddie believes that but he's also being quite kind.

"It's [kidology] a real thing but sometimes you're better not to go there. Eddie is a smart man. He knows me well, I know him." 

Eddie Jones claimed an England training session was spied on ahead of their blockbuster Rugby World Cup semi-final with New Zealand.

The head coach said the team were aware of someone filming from an apartment close to their Chiba training base, though he did not directly accuse the All Blacks of any underhand tactics.

Jones stated such methods were commonplace in the past but are now redundant such is the information readily available.

"There was definitely someone in the apartment block filming, but it might have been a Japanese fan," he told a media conference.

"We don't care, mate. We knew it from the start, but it doesn't change anything. We love it. It's part of the fun of the World Cup. We have got someone there [at New Zealand's training] now mate!

"I haven't done it since 2001. I used to do it. You just don't need to do it anymore. You can see everything. You can watch everyone's training on YouTube. 

"There's no value in doing that sort of thing – absolutely zero. Everyone knows what everyone does – there are no surprises in world rugby anymore. You just have to be good enough on the day."

England face a daunting task in Yokohama on Saturday against a New Zealand side chasing a third straight World Cup triumph.

Jones, though, believes his side can play without fear against the All Blacks, of who he says "the pressure will be chasing them down the street".

"We get to play one of the greatest teams ever that are shooting for a 'three-peat', which has never been done, so that brings an element of pressure," he added. 

"We don't have any pressure. No one thinks we can win. There are 120 million Japanese people out there whose second team are the All Blacks. 

"So, there's no pressure on us, we've just got to have a great week, enjoy it, relax. Train hard and enjoy this great opportunity we've got, whereas they've got to be thinking about how they're looking for their third World Cup and so that brings some pressure.

"It's our job to take the time and space away so that we put them under pressure. New Zealand talk about walking towards pressure, well this week the pressure is going to be chasing them down the street. That's the reality of it, that's how we're approaching it.

"Pressure is a real thing. The busiest bloke in Tokyo this week will be Gilbert Enoka – the [New Zealand] mental skills coach. 

"They have to deal with all this pressure of winning the World Cup three times and it is potentially the last game for their greatest coach and their greatest captain, and they will be thinking about those things. 

"Those thoughts go through your head. It is always harder to defend a World Cup and they will be thinking about that, therefore there is pressure."

Chris Silverwood has no doubt England have recovered from their Cricket World Cup and Ashes exertions and are raring to go ahead of their tour of New Zealand.

England touched down in Christchurch on Tuesday for a five-game Twenty20 series and two Tests against the Black Caps, Silverwood's first assignment since taking over as head coach from Trevor Bayliss.

New Zealand lost a thrilling World Cup final to England on boundary count-back in July, while Bayliss signed off in September with a 2-2 draw in the Ashes that saw Australia retain the urn.

Silverwood does not expect his team to laud their World Cup success over the hosts and indicated they are ready for another challenge.

"I don't think it's been difficult getting them refreshed. We had a great summer but the adventure is lying ahead and to come back here and play cricket again we're very excited," he said.

"One or two are having a little break but its business as usual. Obviously, [T20 captain] Eoin Morgan has a strong hold on what he wants to do with the team and it's my job to back him and help him put things in place.

"I'm sure there'll be a few conversations [about the World Cup final], but we're here to concentrate on the series in front of us, which is always hard fought when we come out to New Zealand with two very good teams."

T20 batting legend Chris Gayle might have priced himself out of the inaugural Hundred Draft held on Sunday.

The Rugby World Cup semi-finals will feature the top four teams in world rugby after the rankings were updated following the quarter-finals.

England and South Africa, courtesy of their convincing wins over Australia and hosts Japan respectively, both climbed one place.

Eddie Jones' side moved above Wales into second, behind defending world champions New Zealand - who England face on Saturday - and the Springboks leapfrogged Ireland.

Six Nations champions Wales beat France 20-19, though even a larger margin of victory would not have kept them from dropping down to third.

Japan had risen to their highest ever ranking after Australia's defeat to England, but the Wallabies moved back into sixth after the Brave Blossoms' loss to South Africa.

France are seventh, with Japan eighth, ahead of Scotland and Argentina, who complete the top 10.

Despite their exit at the hands of South Africa, Japan have won over many fans at the World Cup, with coach Jamie Joseph believing his side are well on their way to becoming a top-five team.

"The team has worked incredibly hard for three years, and this year we worked harder than we've worked ever before," Joseph told a news conference.

"That's put us in a really good position to strive for our goals, which is making the top five in the world."

England expect Jonny May and Jack Nowell to be fit for their Rugby World Cup semi-final against New Zealand, according to assistant coach Neal Hatley.

May scored two tries in England's dominant 40-16 victory over Australia on Saturday, helping Eddie Jones' side set up a last-four tie with the All Blacks, who thrashed Ireland.

However, England had cause for concern over May when the wing suffered a hamstring injury, while Nowell has also been dealing with a similar problem.

But Hatley has revealed both players are expected to be available for selection for Saturday's contest in Yokohama.

"It's fantastic where we are, all 31 being available for selection at the end of the week," said Hatley in a news conference.

"Jonny's bouncing around this morning. He has a small twinge and we'll assess where he is a little bit later today.

"He's in really good spirits, moving well, and we expect Jack to be fit for selection as well."

England last met reigning world champions New Zealand at Twickenham in November 2018, with the All Blacks edging out a 16-15 victory. Hatley, though, insists neither side should read too much into that previous meeting.

"I think the goal for us is to get better every day. I think we've improved, but they've improved as well. I don't think we can take a lot from what happened in Autumn," he added.

"You know, they were missing a few, we were missing a few, and I think both sides have improved since then, it's a whole different situation.

"We've got certain things that we'll l want to do in that first 15, 20 minutes and we need to focus on what we do right, then hopefully we'll replicate the same start."

Jones, meanwhile, lauded the current New Zealand side as the "greatest team" of all time - and not just in rugby union, either.

"We are playing the greatest team there has ever been in sport," he told reporters. "If you look at their record, I don't think there's a team that comes close to them for sustainability.

"Name me another team in the world that plays at the absolute top level that wins 90 per cent of their games.

"Now, talent doesn't matter. When you get to this stage of the tournament, it's about how strong the team is. The reason I took this job is because I saw a team that could be great and that was the challenge and they are starting to believe it."

Australia head coach Michael Cheika has stepped down following the Wallabies' Rugby World Cup exit in Japan.

Cheika confirmed he will not seek re-appointment after Australia were routed 40-16 by England in the World Cup quarter-finals on Saturday.

The 52-year-old, who guided the Wallabies to the 2015 World Cup final as he was named World Rugby Coach of the Year, bristled at questions over his future in the immediate aftermath of Australia's elimination.

However, former Waratahs boss Cheika quit on Sunday – ending his five-year stint in charge of Australia.

"It is no secret I have no relationship with the CEO [Raelene Castle] and not much with the chairman [Cameron Clyne]," Cheika was quoted as saying by the Sydney Morning Herald.

Cheika replaced Ewen McKenzie in 2014 and he made an immediate impact as the Wallabies reached the 2015 World Cup final – beaten by New Zealand.

That run to the decider saw Cheika become the first Australia coach to claim World Rugby's top coaching award since Rod Macqueen in 2001.

But the Wallabies' performances slowly regressed and pressure mounted on heading into this year's World Cup.

In a statement released by Rugby Australia, Cheika said: "I got asked the question in the press conference about what's going to happen going forward and at the time I wasn't keen to answer, but I always knew the answer in my head.

"I just wanted to speak to my wife and tell a few people up there [on the Rugby Australia board] about it.

"I put my chips in earlier in the year - I told people no win, no play.

"So, I'm the type of man who always goes to back what he says and I knew from the final whistle, but I just wanted to give it that little bit time to cool down, talk to my people and then make it clear."

New Zealander Dave Rennie – who is in charge of Glasgow Warriors having previously led the Chiefs to two Super Rugby titles – is the favourite to replace Cheika.

Wallabies head coach Michael Cheika insisted he would rather win playing the Australia way or no way after the country's Rugby World Cup elimination.

Australia crashed out of the World Cup quarter-finals following a 40-16 drubbing at the hands of rivals England in Oita on Saturday.

Despite a bright start, the Wallabies were no match for Eddie Jones' England as Cheika's tactics were brought into question in the aftermath.

Australia adopted a ball-in-hand approach during the tournament in Japan and Cheika was in a defiant mood amid doubts over his future.

"Listen, that's the way we play footy, I'm not going to go to a kick-and-defend game. Call me naive but that's not what I'm going to do," Cheika said.

"I'd rather win it our way or no way. That's the way Aussies want us to play."

Cheika, who led Australia to the 2015 World Cup final, added: "We scored some good tries, we were fit and as tends to happen to us sometimes, over the last few years and sometimes we encounter intercepts.

"Dropped ball, if I look back [at] the Fiji game, dropped ball … length of the field. The Wales game, intercepts. Intercepts again [here]. 

"That's definitely an issue we have to work on, how to close that part of the game down. Because if you put all those intercepts together and it went close to costing us one game, if not two. 

"I am really happy with the way the team played. Obviously we could have played better, no doubt. But just mastering those types of moments is the next step for the team, going forward for the next few years."

England boss Eddie Jones offered no sympathy to Australia after his team swamped the Wallabies at the Rugby World Cup.

A thumping 40-16 victory in Oita carried England through to the semi-finals, with Australian Jones the unabashed architect.

As his counterpart Michael Cheika just about held back tears, telling one journalist to show some "compassion" when raising the question of his future, Jones was jubilant after his own team's performance.

But when it came to sympathising with his former Randwick team-mate, there was nothing going.

"Look, it's tough when you lose a game, particularly at this level of a World Cup," Jones said in a post-match news conference.

"At this moment, not a lot of sympathy, no, because I'm enjoying the win and I think I'm allowed to enjoy the win.

"Maybe later in the week I might, so ask me that later in the week."

England will be deep in preparation for their semi-final task by then, and the impressive performance in their first match of the knock-out stage will count for very little.

They must not merely reprise the display that ripped Cheika's side apart but take it to the next level, Jones said.

"We just want to keep challenging ourselves. We haven't played at our best yet," Jones said.

"The challenge is: how do we get better next week?"

He said England would expect "probably the toughest game of the tournament" next and predicted a "twinge" that led two-try Jonny May to come off late in the Australia game will not keep him sidelined.

Jones described Kyle Sinckler as "like a runaway rhino" after his charge to the line for England's third try, and said George Ford was "absolutely spectacular" after coming off the bench in the second half, having been surprisingly left out of the starting line-up.

England's coach was wary, though, of placing the team on too high a pedestal, even when touching on a favourite pet topic of samurai warriors.

"It's a do-or-die game today. Everyone understands that, and the best samurais were always guys who had a plan but could adapt, who had a calm head, but they were full of aggression," Jones said.

"I thought we were pretty much like that today.

"The challenge is always how we get better, because there's always a better samurai around the corner, so we have to get better."

Michael Cheika urged a reporter to show "compassion" as he objected to being asked whether he intends to step down as Australia's head coach following their Rugby World Cup exit.

Cheika's contract is set to expire and he is widely expected to leave his position, having previously said he would not seek reappointment if the Wallabies did not win the tournament.

However, in a tense news conference after a 40-16 quarter-final loss to England in Oita, the 52-year-old took exception to being asked if he was considering his role.

"It's a cruel, cruel world nowadays when you're asking those questions two minutes after we've been knocked out of the World Cup," said a dejected Cheika.

"If you'd find it inside you to find a little bit of compassion for people who are hurting and just ask a more relevant question [that would be appreciated], because I came here with only one thought in my mind, about winning here. That thought has just disappeared now, not 15-20 minutes ago.

"I know that's what the papers demand, but perhaps, whatever your news outlet is, you should think about people's feelings."

Cheika's future was not raised again until the final question of the news conference. A journalist, who began his enquiry by saying he "appreciated the timeframe", reminded Cheika of his pre-tournament comments about standing aside if Australia did not triumph, asking if that was still his intention.

That query was also rebuffed by Cheika, who swiftly responded: "If you appreciate the timeframe, why ask the question?

He added: "When the time comes, I'll tell 'em [Rugby Australia].

"They don't need to know today - it's not going to kill 'em."

Eddie Jones insists England are still capable of improvement despite earning an impressive 40-16 win over Australia in the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals.

England will face New Zealand or Ireland in the last four next weekend after they scored four tries to the Wallabies' one in Oita on Saturday.

Head coach Jones recognised Australia had made the stronger start to the encounter but was impressed with how his players came through.

"The good news for us is we can still improve," he said after the match. "We weren't absolutely at our best. Australia started the game fast, played superbly for the first 20 and we had to hang in there.

"We hung in there, got a bit of momentum back and got the points when we needed. I'm so pleased for the players, they have worked hard to get this result. What a great crowd, fantastic.

"We are happy to play anyone now but obviously I've got a soft spot for New Zealand. I'd love to play New Zealand in the semi-final, it would be a great challenge for us, we'd be looking forward to it."

Jonny May scored two tries in the space of four first-half minutes, while Kyle Sinckler and Anthony Watson dotted down after England went into the interval with a 17-9 lead.

"Scott Wisemantel has done a great job with getting more options in our attack," added Jones.

"Maybe at the start of the four years here we were a little bit too one dimensional but now we have more options, he's done a great job in that area."

Captain Owen Farrell, who contributed 20 points off the tee, also praised Australia for the way they approached the game.

He said: "I thought Australia made that a brilliant game. They attacked throughout, from minute one to 80.

"Our boys did well in defence and then managed to get some field position off the back of it. We know that when we get some field position we can be pretty dangerous.

"My kicking was a lot better than last time!"

On England's second-half approach, as the forwards and kicking game played more of a role to tighten the match up, Farrell added: "We did what was needed.

"We had the lead and obviously Australia were throwing everything at us again. We wanted to play the game at our pace, not theirs, and thankfully we did that in the second half.

"The support has been brilliant. It's a massive privilege to play for England and hopefully you see that when we play. It's brilliant to have them behind us."

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