New Zealand 28 England 27 match report: All Blacks blow away England to clinch Test series victory with a game to spare

England led at the break but tries from Smith, Savea and Nonu took the game out of the reach of a valiant England side

Forsyth Barr Stadium

If hell does not exist, there is always the South Island of New Zealand on a cold winter’s night with the All Blacks in the mood for blood. The scoreline may suggest that England are inching ever closer to the world champions – a five-point defeat in Auckland in the opening Test of this series, a one-point heartbreaker yesterday – but while they are not a million miles away, this was a more clear-cut victory for Richie McCaw and his silver-ferned compatriots, who played their most brilliant rugby when the game was in the balance.

The damage was caused – or to be more accurate, the havoc was wreaked – in the third quarter of the contest: the point in a match when the very finest All Black sides have, since time immemorial, cranked up the tempo and punished their opponents most severely. Four points behind at the interval and lucky to be that near, they rattled off 15 points between the 43 and 59 minutes to leave the tourists wondering what had hit them – and the tries they scored in that period, through the full-back Ben Smith and the left wing Julian Savea, were minor masterpieces of execution.

They moved further ahead when the ferocious centre Ma’a Nonu, in full warpaint for this game after an unusually conciliatory performance at Eden Park eight days previously, cut inside the England wing Marland Yarde for a third touchdown that might well have heralded a deeply unpleasant last 15 minutes or so for the visitors. That they found the wherewithal to score two tries of their own at the last knockings spoke volumes for their spirit, but in reality, they were a beaten side long before the final whistle.

Yet for 40 minutes, they looked for all the world as though they had the measure of their hosts. A confident, muscular start from a pumped-up pack forced the All Blacks into errors on the back foot, the first of which – an illegal side entry at a driving maul – presented Owen Farrell with an awkward left-sided penalty shot. The boos and whistles from a capacity crowd reinforced the impression that the whole of New Zealand was in a high state of nervous tension. The noise did not distract the young Saracens outside-half for so much as a split-second.

 

There was further reward, infinitely more valuable, on seven minutes. England had already threatened the All Black line following Joe Launchbury’s chargedown of an Aaron Smith clearance, but the siege had been repulsed. No matter. Yarde, operating close to his forwards off a line-out, took a short pass from Danny Care, bust the tackle of McCaw – of all people on God’s rugby earth – and scored to the left of the sticks. Farrell converted and the tourists were on the fast road to dreamland.

That journey was interrupted by a penalty from Aaron Cruden following Ben Smith’s breaking of Luther Burrell in open field, but even though the New Zealanders were scrummaging more heavily than in Auckland – the silver-ferned heavy mob must have taken the most fearful rollicking from their coaches in the build-up - England still felt good about themselves as the interval beckoned. Indeed, they could and should have scored a second try before heading for the tea and oranges.

When an All Black attack broke down with Cory Jane’s fumble close to the left touchline, the ball fell to Manu Tuilagi, making his first international appearance as a wing. The human bowling ball picked up cleanly and set sail for the New Zealand line without a black shirt in his line of vision. Sadly, he was born with a midfielder’s pace rather than a finisher’s speed. Ben Smith, spectacularly effective following his own positional relocation from wing to full-back, ran him down and snuffed out the danger. It was a sensational defensive coup and in the blink of an eye, England found themselves back in their own half, watching Cruden reduce the deficit with a second penalty.

England weren't good enough, laments Wood

It looked like a game-changer at the time and so it proved. Three minutes into the second half, the All Blacks counter-attacked from deep and swept in for the first of their tries, Cruden doing much of the approach work before finding Savea with an exquisite pass delivered at pace – a delivery so cleverly delayed that it wrong-footed the English cover and allowed the wing to find Ben Smith unmarked on an inside track to the line.

Even though Farrell levelled it at 13-apiece with a long-range penalty, the writing was on the wall: Care was making too many errors at scrum-half, Burrell was off his game in defence and hard as Billy Twelvetrees worked as his side’s principal attacking architect, too much possession was ending up on the deck. When Savea, the sharpest of thorns in red-rose flesh over the last 19 months, took an inspired round-the-corner pass from Jerome Kaino to score in the left corner – his fifth try against England in three appearances, the All Blacks had a lead they would not lose.

Farrell’s spell in the cooler for some ball-killing on the England line did not help one little bit – during his absence, Beauden Barrett nailed a penalty and Nonu bagged his touchdown – but there was at least some light in the darkness on his return. Twelvetrees created a try for the combative Brown with a fast pass off the right hand before Yarde and Tuilagi combined in overtime to manufacture a run-in for Chris Ashton.

Another minute on the clock might have made it interesting, but in truth, the right team won.

New Zealand: B Smith, C Jane, C Smith, M Nonu, J Savea; A Cruden (Barrett, 50), A Smith (Perenara, 76); T Woodcock (Crockett, 65), D Coles (Mealamu, 60), O Franks (Faumuina, 65), B Retallick (Retallick, 76), S Whitelock, L Messam (Vito, 65), R McCaw, J Kaino.

England: M Brown; M Tuilagi, L Burrell (Aston, 71), B Twelvetrees, M Yarde; O Farrell, D Care (Youngs, 71); J Marler (Mullan, 71), R Webber (Hartley, 47), D Wilson (Brookes, 76), J Launchbury (Lawes, 56), G Parling, T Wood, C Robshaw, B Morgan (Vunipola, 56).

Referee: J Peyper (South Africa)

News
people
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Keys to success: Andrew and Julian Lloyd Webber
arts + entsMrs Bach had too many kids to write the great man's music, says Julian Lloyd Webber
Voices
Left: An illustration of the original Jim Crowe, played by TD Rice Right: A Couple dressed as Ray and Janay Rice
voices

By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
books

New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning

News
Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
news

New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

News
people

Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch at the premiere of The Imitation Game at the BFI London Film Festival
filmsKeira Knightley tried to miss The Imitation Game premiere to watch Bake Off
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

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes