Mon, Dec 01, 2008 - Page 20 News List

All Blacks complete second grand slam

AFP , LONDON

New Zealand completed their second grand slam in three years and third overall with a 32-6 win over England at Twickenham on Saturday.

New Zealand full-back Mils Muliaina scored two tries in quick succession midway through the second half before center Ma’a Nonu broke away for a third, as the All Blacks recorded their seventh successive victory over England.

This win also meant New Zealand had defeated Scotland, Ireland, Wales and England this month without conceding a try.

Their winning margin, a record for the All Blacks at Twickenham, surpassing the 21 points achieved in a 41-20 success in 2006, would have been greater had not normally reliable fly-half Dan Carter missed five of his 11 goal-kicks.

“I lost a little rhythm in the warm-up. I didn’t kick well today, but thankfully the team were great and the result didn’t come down to kicking,” Carter said. “We played well and showed great character in the way we pulled away.”

After seeing Tri-Nations champions New Zealand win five Tests in as many weeks (they beat Australia in Hong Kong before arriving in Europe), delighted coach Graham Henry said: “Today epitomizes what we’ve been doing all year. Our guys have won all the trophies available to them and won all five [Test] matches on tour.”

“I wondered if that was possible,” former Wales coach Henry said after steering the All Blacks to 13 wins in 15 Tests this year.

England, beaten by Australia, world champions South Africa and the All Blacks on successive weekends, didn’t help themselves by having four players sin-binned as they conceded too many needless penalties.

After a lackluster first half, New Zealand were only 12-3 ahead.

But they showed their customary ruthlessness after the break.

“There was not enough composure and we made mistakes when we were under pressure,” England manager Martin Johnson said, whose team, while giving a better account of themselves than in their record 42-6 home loss to the Springboks, were rendered try-less again. “The sin-bins didn’t help. Four in one game is a little unusual.”

Johnson said there was much for his youthful team to absorb before they started their Six Nations campaign against Italy in February.

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