Yesterday I was fortunate enough to have a press pass for the All Blacks vs England at Twickenham. What a game it was! Following is my match report / run-down of the big game – published on NZ News UK…
Photo by Getty Images
Article written by Charlotte Everett
The All Blacks remain undefeated after snatching victory from England at Twickenham.
In a match that at times was too close to call, Stuart Lancaster’s team were left “desperately disappointed” by an All Blacks win – despite high hopes after defeating NZ at Twickenham last year, and an overwhelmingly optimistic fan base who were determined to see England triumph.
Twickenham was a sea of black – however this seemed largely attributed to winter coats, rather than the All Blacks loyal. The stands were dominated by a loud chorus of England fans who were determined to throw New Zealand off their game from the get-go – going so far as to drown out the haka with their own calls of “Swing Low…”
Despite their best efforts however, the All Blacks were quick to demonstrate why they are the world’s 1st, with Julian Savea scoring a try within the first two minutes of the match. Savea was also deservedly the day’s Man of the Match – a massive turnaround from being in a French hospital only a week ago. Steve Hansen remarked on his team’s focus on making the most of every opportunity – demonstrated well by Savea – with the All Blacks controlling the first 20 minutes of the game; England dominating the next 20; and the next 20 being shared. Kieran Read scored the second try of the game soon after Savea’s – however being slapped with a yellow card gave England a 10 minute advantage to gain momentum and bring the score dangerously close; half-time seeing England with 16, New Zealand with 20.
The match wasn’t without its injuries, either. Dan Carter – celebrating his 100th cap – had to leave the game after 26 minutes, having injured his Achilles (not the one previously ruptured). Hansen reported post-match that it’s probably not ruptured, but the seriousness of the injury cannot be gauged until scans are done. Tony Woodcock also pulled a hamstring just before half-time, and is subsequently unlikely to play in Dublin next week.
Andy Farrell is “gutted for the boys”, after England “worked their absolute socks off” – but felt that two exits went wrong for the hosts, resulting in a “dejected changing room”. Nonetheless England remain optimistic for the World Cup next year, though they “talk more about belief and building a team” rather than purely looking towards the World Cup as an end game. England’s coaches are grateful that England – and the Twickenham crowd in particular – are 100% behind the team, and are celebrating moving from 6th in the world to 3rd, while inching ever-closer to 2nd.
Richie McCaw’s boys knew today’s match “was always going to be a battle”, but nonetheless have savoured victory yet again with a defeat over England 30-22 – and are now only 80 minutes away from the perfect year.