RFU defends All Blacks ticket price hike

Rugby Football Union chief executive Steve Brown claims the "exceptional" demand for tickets to the Test between England and New Zealand this year justifies a significant increase in prices.

The most expensive seats for the eagerly anticipated clash between Eddie Jones' side and the All Blacks at Twickenham in November will cost £195.

But a disappointing Six Nations campaign, in which England finished fifth, does not appear to have dampened enthusiasm for the meeting between two of the world's best teams, with the RFU pricing the spectacle accordingly. 

"It's the blockbuster, we haven't played them for four years and the demand is exceptional," said Brown.

"It is still a significant game. We are not number two [in the world] at the moment, but we are not far off and it is an opportunity to get back there.

"A continuously winning England drives demands, but there is something special about the games here. There are only six or seven big games a year.

"It has become a big event, an all-day event that people enjoy. People are here for the spectacle and to see England play. But they are also seeing a very high standard of rugby."

The RFU last month offered its backing to Jones, who signed a contract extension in January before overseeing England's underwhelming attempt to win a third successive Six Nations crown. 

And Brown has reiterated that endorsement.

"We're reassured the plans he has in place are robust and we're confident they will take us to a good place in 2019," said the chief executive.

"History tells us that that [finishing fifth] is not the norm for England."

Jones' new deal included a remit to assist in the process of identifying his successor, with Brown expecting an elite calibre of candidates to contend for the position.   

"The long list will get short fairly quickly, I'd imagine," he said.

"There are not 25 people out there who could take that job."

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