SAM TIMES IT’S NOT YOUR DAY
‘Will they be brave enough to make the decision?”.
It was especially cruel on Underhill – superb throughout – who turned world player of the year Beauden Barrett inside out with a feint and step on his way to the line.
England, 14-point no-hopers in the eyes of the bookies, had stunned the All Blacks by racing into a 15-0 lead.
Chris Ashton, in his first start for four years, opened the scoring after just 106 seconds and Dylan
Hartley doubled the lead shortly before the half-hour, driven over by his pack and half the three-quarter line after Maro Itoje won clean lineout ball.
But big decisions win matches and New Zealand got theirs on the stroke of half-time when captain Kieran Read turned down a shot at goal for a scrum and was rewarded with a Damian McKenzie try.
England paid for taking captain Hartley off at the interval as their lineout fell apart under Jamie George. And following Underhill’s unlucky break, they failed to engineer a drop-goal opportunity.
Jones refused to point the finger, saying: “We endorse every decision the players make.” But he will know his team blew a golden chance to lay down a marker ahead of next year’s World Cup.
“Test match rugby is about those small opportunities,” he sighed. ENGLAND:
TRY: Sam Underhill scores what he thought was winner