England: (15) 15
Tries: Ashton, Hartley Cons: Farrell Drop Goal: Farrell
New Zealand: (10) 16
Try: McKenzie Cons: Barrett Pens: Barrett (2) Drop Goal: Barrett
After last week’s final minute decision going their way in the win over South Africa, last night England suffered the reversal as Sam Underhill’s late try was controversially ruled out by the Television Match Official (TMO) allowing the All Blacks to rang on to a one point advantage.
With many people expecting the current World Champions to romp to a victory at Twickenham as England looked for their first taste of success against them for only the second time in 15 years, it was the English that got of to a flying start.
In torrential conditions the All Blacks made a mistake at the kick off, allowing England some good early procession and after the English forwards had done their job with some damaging run’s to suck in the All Black defence, Ben Youngs spotted Chris Ashton (pictured) unmarked and sent a looping pass to the Sale wingman who marked his first start for England since 2012 with the opening try with less than 2 minutes on the clock.
Although Owen Farrell’s touchline conversion hit the woodwork, the charismatic fly half increased England’s lead minutes late with a drop goal from 35 yards making it 8-0 to the home side in as many minutes.
For the All Blacks who have been dominant in world rugby for years, they just couldn’t get going as they made a number of uncharacteristic errors, dropped ball’s Kicks out on the full, all allowing England good procession and territory. With England being in no mood to allow the visitors off the hook, they scored again soon afterwards, this time from a line out 15 meters from the All Blacks try line, the English formed a maul and has the English three quarters piled in to help their team mates out the normally solid wall of Black split open and skipper Dean Hartley crossed for only his second international try, Farrell hit the conversion and England were 15-0 up.
However, the All Blacks aren’t the best in the world for nothing and after a rocky start they started to find their rhythm and crossed just before the half hour mark when they the All Blacks forwards bombarded the English line, before the Ball was shipped left to Beauden Barrett who slipped the inside pass to the ever dangerous Damian McKenzie who dove over next to the posts. Barrett’s conversion made it 15-7 and his penalty a few minutes later saw the World Champions only 15-0 down at the break.
The second half started as the first finished with the All Blacks on top and they should have equalised soon after the restart, McKenzie again finding space before handing the ball to Aaron Smith who only had to draw the english defence and send a pass to the supporting Ardie Savea, but the pass went behind the young forward and was cleaned up by a scrambling Engalnd defence.
With England well on the back foot they could have considered themselves lucky when Barrett decided to take a drop goal, when the chance of seven points lucked likely. With the weather really tacking effect and move sides making errors another penalty goal from Barrett saw the All Blacks finally take the lead 16-15 with twenty minutes remaining.
by know England coach Eddie Jones was sensing the shift in power as he sent on a number of reinforcements with a number of fresh legs the English managed to hold off the All blacks and with five minutes remaining they thought they had stolen the game back as Sam Underhill reacted quickest to a Cortney Lawes charge down, before collecting and wrong footing Barret twice before sliding over the line in the corner. With Twickenham on its feet the decision was sent to the TMO Maruis Jonker who after a number of views from different angles decided Courtney Lawes had been no more than an inch off side to disallow the try.
In the final minute England had one more chance as Jonny May sliced through the All Black defence only for England to produce a knock on in the next phase which allowed the All Blacks to kick the ball out of player, the ref to blow time up and England fans to sit and wonder What If!!