There was nothing fluky about this famous victory, cleverly orchestrated by Geoff Cooke, enacted with power and relish by the performers and lifted to the rafters on a crescendo of support from the audience. Cooke had laid a trail of red herrings for the All Blacks but at the end he could not disguise his feelings. 'It is incredibly satisfying I can assure you,' he said.
Cooke's tour of New Zealand with the Lions in the summer, which ended in defeat, no doubt had something to do with his feeling of salvation. 'This was an England win,' Will Carling said. 'It has nothing to do with the Lions.' As English as the Last Night of the Proms.
The All Blacks also indulged in a touch of kidology over the fitness of Matthew Cooper, though to what purpose is difficult to fathom. England had a suspicion Cooper would not play when they saw Wilson practising goal-kicks at Twickenham on Friday but they were never officially told. When they heard that Eroni Clarke was in - 'He always comes off his right foot' - Cooke re-organised aspects of England's defence before the kick-off.
Cooke's only reservation was whether England would miss Dewi Morris's tackling but the debut of young Kyran Bracken was so good Morris will not find it easy to regain his place. Bracken was handicapped when his right ankle was stamped on - the ball had gone - by Jamie Joseph. At half- time they had enough tape around his leg to start a Grand National. Bracken was on crutches after the game and he thinks he may be out for three weeks. 'I'd like to look at a video of the incident,' Bracken said. 'I thought my whole world had caved in.' His father Joe was less diplomatic. Kyran, he said, was a victim of the 'Kiwi kiss'.
Jonathan Callard, the other new cap, also served England well after conquering what he described as the fear of failure. Not so long ago he was playing at Chipping Sodbury for the Bath third XV. 'I thought I was better than that,' he said. 'It would have been so easy to walk out and find somewhere else.' When his first kick went over he was gratified to see the relief on the faces of the England forwards. He had been encouraged by a phone call from Jon Webb on Friday night and a letter from David Trick who advised him not to take any sleeping pills.
Nigel Redman, singled out for praise by Laurie Mains, was prescribed pills on the eve of the match but promptly threw them up. 'I didn't think I'd play,' Redman said. 'I was very ill. It could have been food poisoning. My stomach ballooned up and I was constantly sick.' The only meal he kept down was a bowl of cornflakes on Saturday morning. England did not have a lock forward on the bench.
The absence of Cooper hurt the All Blacks in areas other than goal-kicking. They do not consider drop-outs as a concession of possession but Wilson could not get that right either. Nor could Rob Andrew. All Black fly-halves - look at Grant Fox and Steve Bachop - spend hours perfecting the art and it is something that Andrew will have to work on. He spent most of the time kicking long and if this was an obvious tactic to bypass the All Black forwards it was also in part due to the fact that he cannot find the right spot with a conventional drop-out. If and when he does, England have the forwards to capitalise.
The only other weakness concerns Tony Underwood. He is not chosen for his defence and he should have beaten John Timu for a try. The advantage was with Underwood. Cooke's only regret was that England did not cross the All Blacks line - Timu crossed England's but was flagged down by the eagle-eyed Stephen Hilditch. 'I wouldn't have liked to have won the game like that,' Sean Fitzpatrick said of England's victory by the boot. Oh yes, he would.
Of all the compliments Cooke received, the one he appreciated most came from Jeff Probyn. Since being replaced by the ubiquitous Victor Ubogu, Probyn has been critical of the England leadership. In the Rose Room at Twickenham Probyn shook Cooke's hand. 'What can I say?' he told the manager. 'What a back row, what a pack.'
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