Sunday, November 07, 2010
England put in a spirited second half comeback but it wasnt enough as the All Blacks held on for a 26-16 win at Twickenham. Tries by Hosea Gear and Kieran Read as well as the class of Dan Carter gave the visitors a 20-6 lead before England fought back.
It was impressive stuff at times as New Zealand looked in control but the hosts fired back at them, first through Dylan Hartley and then coming within inches as former New Zealand rugby league international Shontayne Hape was edged out in the corner.
His former teammate, Sonny Bill Williams, had a fairly subdued day with his main contribution being a trademark offload that led to Gears try. "I think the jury's still out," said coach Graham Henry.
"I don't think he'll be entirely happy with his game but he'll be better for the experience. What else would you expect? His first game, in front of 82,000 at Twickenham, is a pretty big ask. I'm pretty happy with what he displayed."
Williams himself was quite dissatisfied, despite not doing too much wrong.
"I spent the few hours after the game feeling proud of myself for accomplishing what I said I wanted to do when I came across to rugby," said Williams, "But I was disappointed with my own game and I am looking for a bit more game time to improve on my performance.
"I pride myself on my workrate and the intensity was a huge step up from the national competition at home in New Zealand. It was a rollercoaster out there. I did a couple of good things and a couple of bad things. The only way you will improve as a player was through game time. We have class players but hopefully I will get another shot," he added.
The All Blacks conceded their first try in an Autumn Test since 2006, but will be happy with the win as England showed that theres plenty of potential and lots to work with. Coach Martin Johnson said the mood was right after the loss, despite the comeback.
"I didn't want them to be happy with the comeback and happy to be near. If you want to get better you don't go around being satisfied. There were lots of good stuff but let's not pat ourselves on the back," he said.
England face Australia next, while New Zealand travel to Edinburgh to play Scotland.
Note: Longer highlights will be posted soon if possible.