Sun, Jun 15, 2014 - Page 18 News List

All Blacks earn one-point win

SERIES SEWN UP:England’s performance gave their claims to have New Zealand’s measure some backing, but a good second half won the home team the series

AP, DUNEDIN, New Zealand

New Zealand halfback Aaron Smith’s kick is charged down by England’s Joe Launchberry during their game at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin, New Zealand, yesterday.

Photo: Reuters

New Zealand scored three second-half tries to beat England 28-27 in the second Test yesterday for a winning 2-0 lead in the three-match series.

England led 10-6 at halftime, but New Zealand rallied, scoring 22 points to 17 in the second half with tries by fullback Ben Smith, winger Julian Savea and center Ma’a Nonu.

Smith’s try gave New Zealand their first lead of the match in the 43rd minute and followed his critical, try-saving tackle on England winger Manu Tuilagi in the dying minutes of the first half that helped to swing the match the All Blacks’ way.

As the match opened up in the second half to the All Blacks’ advantage — and as England were reduced to 14 men by the sin-binning of flyhalf Owen Farrell in the 58th minute — tries to Savea in the 50th minute and Nonu in the 63rd drove home the hosts’ superiority.

England scored tries through winger Marland Yarde in the eighth minute and fullback Mike Brown in the 71st, then finished with a try to winger Chris Ashton from Tuilagi’s pass after the final siren.

“We’ve come a long way in the past few weeks and we’ll continue to get better,” England captain Chris Robshaw said. “We just lost a bit of control there in that second half, early on.”

“We just couldn’t get hold of the ball really. We showed glimpses, we finished really strongly, we started really strongly — it was just that middle bit,” Robshaw said. “It’s a result-based industry, and unfortunately we’ve had two losses and lost the series now, but we’ve got another match to come next week and we’re going to come out fighting again.”

The All Blacks had been irritated by England’s triumphalism after their 20-15 defeat in last weekend’s first Test at Auckland and were determined to force them into silence. England boasted that they had shattered the “myth” of All Blacks invincibility and even questioned world champion New Zealand’s claim to the No. 1 world ranking.

That self-confidence in defeat fired the All Blacks’ determination to win more convincingly in the second Test than they had in the first. They achieved their 30th victory in 38 meetings between the teams since 1905, but their performance was again liberally strewn with errors that blunted their effectiveness until the second half.

New Zealand were rocked by England’s dynamic beginning, but they were also severely disadvantaged by conceding three early penalties and earning a general warning that forced them to be untypically cautious at breakdowns.

England, in contrast, had an opportunity to play as they wished: unpenalized for offsides or obstructions and that gave them confidence and momentum.

The first half was played at a frenetic pace and England, who had 68 percent of territory and a surplus of possession, brought a new level of skill and enterprise to the game.

“I think there was a lot of energy in the first 10 minutes, but a couple of mistakes in a row put us under the pump,” New Zealand captain Richie McCaw said. “We felt we started to get into the game late in the first half and we just wanted to get momentum coming into the second half. Getting points early put us in control of the game.”

“We were a bit disappointed last week. Even though [we] got the result, we felt we hadn’t played to the level we expect as All Blacks,” McCaw said. “That was the big focus this week and because we got the job done that means we’re two up in the series.”

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