New Zealand 28 England 27: England need to match belief of All Blacks, says Tom Wood

Wood feels that England made some wrong decisions in key areas that ultimately cost them the game

Dunedin

England admitted they had missed ‘‘an historic opportunity’’ after losing to the All Blacks by a single point, so resigning themselves to flying home on the painful end of another series defeat in the southern hemisphere.

Next week’s final Test is now redundant after the world champions scored three outstanding tries in 20 second-half minutes to win a highly charged game in the South Island.

“Absolutely, it feels like we’ve let a historic opportunity slip away from us,” said Tom Wood, the Northampton flanker, who drew no comfort from the fact that England matched the New Zealanders in the try count and finished much the stronger, scoring 14 late points to narrow the gap to the smallest possible margin. “At half-time, it was there for us. When they came at us after interval, we needed to get our hands on the ball and build some pressure. We didn’t do it.”

 

Rather than celebrate the fact that England are patently more competitive than in any of their previous series stretching back more than 40 years, Wood chose to acknowledge the hosts’ ruthlessness in winning important matches. “They’re the ones with the biggest targets on their heads, so they’re used to teams getting out of the blocks and really going after them,” he said, admiringly. “They know what they’re doing – they back their fitness and their skills – and when they establish ascendancy, you can sense their belief growing. They’re the most dangerous team of all.”

New Zealand 28 England 27 match report

New Zealand have not lost an international match in their own country for five years and have now won 32 home Tests on the bounce – a remarkable record in any era, in any sport. It is a sure sign of England’s improvement under Lancaster’s coaching regime that the hosts’ initial reaction was one of relief, but their performance here was significantly better than the error-strewn display in Auckland last weekend and they will fancy their chances of completing a clean sweep for the concluding encounter. “We need a big finale,” said Chris Robshaw, the England captain. “We still want to win a game down here and we feel it’s attainable, as long as we stay professional. We’re definitely ready to go again.”

Ben Smith ran England ragged throughout the 80 minutes Ben Smith ran England ragged throughout the 80 minutes

Senior members of the All Black camp had some kind words for the defeated tourists. “We’re learning a lot about ourselves and quite a bit about them,” said Steve Hansen, the head coach. “As there is a World Cup in England next year, that information will be valuable. Traditionally, the South Africans have been our biggest rivals. They still are, probably. The Australians? They like to think of themselves as our big brothers. But particularly in recent years, our matches with England have been real contests.”

For Hansen’s opposite number those sentiments were a poor substitute for what might have been. “The All Blacks were exceptional in the third quarter and I think our players deserve credit for not throwing in the towel, but it’s very disappointing to come away with nothing after working so hard,” said Lancaster. “We knew New Zealand would be at their best off turnover ball, yet we kicked loosely on a couple of occasions and probably tried to play too much in our own half.

“The next step for us is to improve our decision-making at the highest level. We need to look at our game management, especially when we’re between our own 22 and the halfway line. ”

Sport
sportSo, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Arts and Entertainment
Dennis speaks to his French teacher
tvThe Boy in the Dress, TV review
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
The Plaza Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia was one of the 300 US cinemas screening
filmTim Walker settles down to watch the controversial gross-out satire
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
Life and Style
Mark's crab tarts are just the right size
food + drinkMark Hix cooks up some snacks that pack a punch
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect