New Zealand . . . . . . . . .30
TWO Englishmen scored tries against the All Blacks at freezing Kingsholm last night. But it would have been an even rarer event if an English team had beaten them and, sure enough, the midweek New Zealanders were too strong for the youthful England third string four days before the Test at Twickenham.
In no way were England overawed, but when it came down to those crucial moments when they seemed in greatest difficulty, John Mitchell's team pulled themselves together and made their vital points.
You would not expect anything less of an All Black side, though the residual memory of their last trip abroad, when they lost 40-17 to Sydney before last year's third Test in Australia, means that these days Laurie Mains looks at his reserve strength with some trepidation.
Last night the New Zealand coach need not have worried, even if he could have done without the occasional alarm: Dave Sims's and Paul Challinor's tries in particular. Sims, called in at lock when Alex Snow withdrew, cleanly won a line- out and was driven over. It pulled the score back to 11-17 just before half-time and Challinor's penalty immediately after the break reduced the margin to three.
It is at times like these that All Blacks show their mettle. Two minutes later Jon Preston cut a diagonal path from a scrum and, with most of the England defence going one way, Shane Howarth went the other for a try.
New Zealand had built their lead after withstanding an early period of England pressure in which Challinor had muffed a couple of important penalty chances. The reminder, if any were needed, that you have to take everything the All Blacks offer was not long in coming. Howarth's first penalty was followed by a Challinor mishap when, fielding a Stephen Bachop up-and-under, his hurried clearance fell straight into the arms of Eric Rush, who skipped round from the wing.
Howarth converted and Challinor kicked his first two penalties before a kick by Lee Stensness sowed further confusion in England's defensive ranks. The loose ball went through Henderson, Allen, Preston, Bachop and Stensness before Eroni Clarke sidestepped past first Dawson, then Catt and finally Dunn.
This was worse than England's occasionally rousing show had merited. Dean Ryan, the one full cap, drove his forwards by example and Chris Sheasby made his physical presence felt. Behind this decent forward effort, Matthew Dawson harried, probed and found most of the few gaps that presented themselves.
But as every other team has found, the Emerging Players ran into a black wall of New Zealand tackling and you never quite felt they had the nerve actually to win a match that was comfortably the most irascible of the tour so far.
Howarth added his second penalty and Bachop dropped a goal and though England's final flurry came too late it did produce a second try despite the All Blacks' constant concession of penalties. From Dawson's quick tap Damian Hopley eluded Norman Hewitt and gave Challinor a free run-in. It brought the house down but did not change the result, the tourists' 10th win in 10 matches.
England: Tries Sims, Challinor; Penalties Challinor 3. New Zealand: Tries Rush, Clarke, Howarth; Conversions Howarth 3; Penalties Howarth 3; Drop goal Bachop.
ENGLAND EMERGING PLAYERS: P Challinor (Harlequins); P Holford (Gloucester), D Hopley (Wasps), N Beal (Northampton), P Hull (Bristol); M Catt (Bath), M Dawson (Northampton); C Clark (Oxford University), K Dunn (Wasps), J Mallett (Bath), D Sims, R West (Gloucester), S Ojomoh (Bath), D Ryan (Wasps, capt), C Sheasby (Harlequins).
NEW ZEALAND: S Howarth; E Clarke (Auckland), M Berry (Wellington), L Stensness (Auckland), E Rush (North Harbour); S Bachop (Otago), J Preston (Wellington); M Allen (Taranaki), N Hewitt (Hawke's Bay), G Purvis (Waikato), B Larsen (North Harbour), R Fromont (Auckland), L Barry (North Harbour), J Mitchell (Waikato, capt), P Henderson (Southland).
Referee: D Mene (France).Reuse content