All Blacks edge England again
All Blacks edge England againSHARE
New Zealand claimed an unassailable 2-0 lead in their three-Test series against England when they beat them 28-27 in Dunedin on Saturday.
The margin may suggest that England had run the All Blacks close at the indoor stadium – and perhaps in the first half it was a close contest, with England leading 10-6 at the break.
However, in the second half the New Zealand class shone through and with less than 10 minutes they were still leading 28-13.
England's third try came well after the hooter for full-time had already sounded.
In reality there was a bigger difference in class this week than last week, when New Zealand required a late score to win.
While the England forwards were competitive, their backs were totally outclassed. In the end that difference allowed the All Blacks to race clear when it mattered most.
England got off to the perfect start, seemingly more motivated by the Kapa o Pango haka than the All Blacks.
Owen Farrell opened their account with a penalty in the second minute, after a series of early transgressions – which was followed by a warning from the referee for repeated infringements.
Then England's backs burst into life. After a few rushes it was Marland Yarde that found the whole with a great loop-around move. Farrell's conversion made it 10-0 after eight minutes.
The All Blacks soon settled down and Aaron Cruden narrowed the gap to 3-10 in the 12th minute, but penalties continued to mount against the Kiwis – including for the most blatant of off-the-ball plays against Ma'a Nonu, who took a player out 10 metres away from the ball.
Cruden ended the half with a penalty, as the All Blacks went into the break just four points (6-10) down.
However, the home team lifted the tempo significantly and started to open up the England defence like a can of sardines.
The first try came in the 44th minute – from a counter from inside their own half, with a sublime dummy from Cruden setting up the space for Ben Smith to stroll over. Cruden added the extras as New Zealand took the lead for the first time – 13-10.
Farrell did level the scores with a penalty in the 47th minute, but the next try ensured England knew they were on the receiving end of a clinical Kiwi team.
It seemed that Aaron Smith had butchered the try when he sold a dummy that wasn't bought, but some great recycling saw Julian Savea go over the line in the left corner.
The Cruden conversion was wide and replacement Beauden Barrett then hit the upright with his first penalty.
Then came a decision by South African referee Jaco Peyper that will cause plenty of debate in the days to come – not so much for the reason, but for the fact that he sent England flyhalf Owen Farrell to the sin bin without as much as a warning – having earlier allowed the All Blacks several offences in succession and then only issues a warning. It seemed strange and inconsistent at best.
Barrett slotted the subsequent penalty and then the All Blacks used their one-man extra to create space out wide for Ma'a Nonu to stroll over – with Conrad Smith making the crucial line-break. Barrett's conversion made it 28-13.
England worked their way back into the game, with Mike Brown awarded a contentious try by the TMO – after his own hand appeared to hold the ball off the ground. The debate between the TMO and referee would have been comical, had the situation not been so serious. The try stood, Farrell added the conversion and at 20-28 there was still hope for England with just on 10 minutes remaining.
However, England managed only a consolation score after the final hooter – when Manu Tuilagi and Mike Brown combined to put Chris Ashton over. Farrell added the conversion to make the final score 28-27.
Man of the match: Geoff Parling was England's most productive forward and prop David Wilson had his moment. Billy Twelvetrees also had a few decent runs. Richie McCaw was again involve in a lot, even thought he mad errors and was penalised – as gas become tradition in every match. Conrad Smith showed his value, Brodie Retallick is worth consideration and Sam Whitelock had his moments. However, our award goes to All Black fullback Ben Smith, who had a proverbial blinder.
Moment of the match: There was New Zealand's first try when Aaron Cruden sold a dummy and Ben Smith went over for a classic and typical All Black try. It showed New Zealand's intent and took the wind out of the English sails. However, the most significant moment was the decision by South African referee Jaco Peyper to issue a yellow card to England flyhalf Owen Farrell without prior warning – after allowing the All Blacks several repeat offences and only issuing a warning. It was a strange call at a crucial stage in the game.
Villain of the match: Nobody, not even Farrell's yellow card. In fact the referee's call puts him more in line than the player.
For New Zealand:
Tries: B Smith, Savea, Nonu
Cons: Cruden, Barrett
Pens: Cruden 2, Barrett
Tries: Yarde, Brown, Ashton
Cons: Farrell 3
Pens: Farrell 2
Yellow card: Owen Farrell (England, 59 – professional foul, not rolling away
New Zealand: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Jerome Kaino, 7 Richie McCaw (captain), 6 Liam Messam, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Victor Vito, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Malakai Fekitoa.
England: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Manusamoa Tuilagi, 13 Luther Burrell, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 Marland Yarde, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Danny Care, 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Chris Robshaw (captain), 6 Tom Wood, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 David Wilson, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Dylan Hartley, 17 Matt Mullan, 18 Kieran Brookes, 19 Courtney Lawes, 20 Billy Vunipola, 21 Ben Youngs, 22 Freddie Burns, 23 Chris Ashton.
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Nigel Owens (Wales), Jérôme Garcès (France)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)