All Blacks hit back to beat Eng­land 16-15 at Twick­en­ham

Mis­takes to­wards the end of the first half cost Eng­land dear at Twick­en­ham

Gulf Times Sport - - FRONT PAGE -

Eng­land’s Sam Un­der­hill was de­nied a late and po­ten­tially match-win­ning try as world cham­pi­ons New Zealand came from 15-0 down to win 16-15 at a rain­swept Twick­en­ham yes­ter­day.

Just four min­utes re­mained when Eng­land thought they were about to record just an eighth win in 41 Tests against the All Blacks when Court­ney Lawes charged down re­place­ment TJ Per­e­nara’s kick and Un­der­hill, weav­ing his way past Beau­den Bar­rett, crossed.

But French ref­eree Jerome Garces, af­ter con­sult­ing South African tele­vi­sion match official Mar­ius Jonker, de­cided Lawes had been marginally off­side and dis­al­lowed the score to the dis­may of a ca­pac­ity Twick­en­ham crowd of over 82,000.

New Zealand had ear­lier re­cov­ered from the shock of Eng­land’s im­pres­sive start to be just five points down at half-time thanks to full­back Damian McKenzie’s con­verted try and a Bar­rett penalty.

Fly-half Bar­rett’s sec­ond­half drop-goal and penalty then proved the de­ci­sive scores in what was the first Eng­land-New Zealand clash for four years — and one that took place fewer than 12 months out from the 2019 World Cup in Ja­pan.

It took Eng­land, fresh from an un­con­vinc­ing and try-less 12-11 home win over South Africa last week­end, fewer than two min­utes to score the first try.

Eng­land co-cap­tain Far­rell’s well-judged kick-off, which al­lowed his chasers to com­pete for the ball in the air, was knocked on by New Zealand lock Brodie Re­tal­lick.

Eng­land’s en­su­ing scrum was solid, with for­wards Kyle Sinck­ler and Maro Itoje then lead­ing the charge into the All Blacks’ 22-me­tre area.

Scrum-half Ben Youngs’s floated cut-out pass then found Ash­ton who, taking ad­van­tage of some in­ex­pli­ca­bly slack mark­ing, used the wet turf to slide in at the right cor­ner rather than cel­e­brate with his cus­tom­ary ‘Ash splash’.

It was a stun­ning way for the Sale wing to mark his first Eng­land start in four years and his 20th try in 41 ca­reer Tests.

Far­rell saw a dif­fi­cult touch­line con­ver­sion hit the right post but, with Eng­land dom­i­nat­ing ter­ri­tory, the fly-half extended the lead to 8-0 with a 10th-minute drop-goal.

Long-range kick spe­cial­ist El­liot Daly’s penalty then set-up a line-out just 10 me­tres from the New Zealand try-line.

Eng­land won their own ball and a pow­er­ful driv­ing maul saw co-cap­tain Hart­ley, their New Zealand-born hooker, driven over for a 24th-minute try by the posts. Far­rell added the sim­ple con­ver­sion and Eng­land, against all ex­pec­ta­tions, led 15-0.

By this stage open­side flanker Un­der­hill, re­called in place of the in­jured Tom Curry had al­ready made a num­ber of im­por­tant tack­les.

Eng­land were play­ing clas­sic wet-weather rugby.

But mis­takes to­wards the end of the first half cost them dear.

They al­lowed McKenzie to make ground af­ter miss­ing a cou­ple of first-up tack­les, with Eng­land wing Jonny May even­tu­ally pe­nalised for off­side as he in­ter­cepted a pass.

The All Blacks de­clined a kick­able penalty to opt for a scrum 12 me­tres out.

Their set­piece was solid and Bar­rett’s clever in­side pass al­lowed the on­rush­ing McKenzie to go over on the cut­back for a 39th-minute try that Bar­rett duly con­verted.

With barely a minute left in the half, Far­rell then care­lessly kicked the re-start di­rectly into touch, al­low­ing New Zealand a scrum on the half-way line.

The All Blacks gained field po­si­tion off the set­piece and fur­ther Eng­land indis­ci­pline al­lowed Bar­rett to knock over a penalty in front of the posts.

New Zealand nearly caught Eng­land cold right at the start of the sec­ond half af­ter a jinking McKenzie sliced his way through be­fore link­ing with Ben Smith and Aaron Smith only for wing Rieko Ioane to drop the scrumhalf’s pass when a try was in sight.

But they did cut Eng­land’s lead to two points when Bar­rett landed a drop-goal — his first at this level.

New Zealand’s Kieran Read wins the li­ne­out against Eng­land’s Char­lie Ewels dur­ing their rugby union Test at Twick­en­ham yes­ter­day.

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