The much anticipated replay of last year’s epic clash between England and New Zealand drew a sell-out crowd at Twickenham this Saturday. With misty eyed memories of last year’s 38-20 victory fans crowded into the stadium with the hope of that England could be the ones to end the Kiwi’s amazing unbeaten streak.
Things didn’t get off to a good start, after facing down the NZ Hakka with stern resolve the British defense seemed to crumble. For the first 20 minutes the All Blacks battered English line who found it hard to keep up with the storming attack. Julian Savea and Kieran Read went over for NZ setting them up with a strong 17-3 lead early in the first half.
England’s first real response came in the 23rd minute when a scrum on the NZ line ended with Joe Launchbury diving on the ball as it squirted out of the side of the scrum, claiming the points for England. After this they started to claw their way back into the game and with the help of a few New Zealand slips managed to close the gap to 16-20 at the end of the half.
A couple of careless penalties briefly gave England a two point lead over the visitors but the excitement was short lived as NZ hit back with another try from Savea set up by a beautiful offload from Mar Nonu as he drew in the English defense. The All Blacks then sealed their victory with a late penalty slotted neatly between the posts and with England unable to muster a response the match ended 30-22.
Despite the loss England came away positive in defeat after a performance which was arguably their best of the season against a team widely recognized as the best in the world. New Zealand hope to close out their record breaking unbeaten run with a 14th consecutive victory against Ireland in their fixture next Sunday. (Kick-off 2 pm Sky Sports 1) – By Sam Gardom