New Zealand 37-20 England: All-new England squad's future not so bright as All Blacks shine
New Zealand 37-20 England
THE launch of England's bright new era fell flat in Auckland as they suffered another heavy defeat at the hands of New Zealand. Two opportunist tries from debutante winger Topsy Ojo at the end of each half gave the final score a measure of respectability – but England's error-strewn performance was punished by the All Blacks.
As usual, Dan Carter was the architect as New Zealand wrecked a promising start from England with a 20-point blitz inside 11 first-half minutes. Carter, who finished with a personal haul of 22 points, created the first try for Conrad Smith and then scored the second himself as the All Blacks took control.
Ojo's 80-metre intercept try before the interval was just a finger in the dam as Mils Muliaina and Sitiveni Sivivatu scored for the rampant All Blacks early in the second half. With the match long over as a contest, New Zealand did not press home their dominance as they might have done and Ojo latched onto a kick from fellow debutante Danny Care to score his second of the evening.
England, featuring 11 changes from the win over Ireland in March, had started with mean determination and they enjoyed early success at the breakdown, winning turnovers and forcing the All Blacks into mistakes. When Andrew Hore dropped the ball in his own 22, New Zealand needed some desperate last-ditch defence from number eight Jerome Kaino to halt David Strettle's dart for the corner.
After 20 minutes, England led 6-3 with two penalties from Olly Barkley – but then it all began to unfold. Smith raced onto Carter's grubber kick forward to score the first try and, almost immediately, the swagger had returned to New Zealand's game eight months after their World Cup failure.
And to make matters worse, England had Andrew Sheridan sin-binned. Carter latched onto a pass from Sivivatu, converted and landed a penalty as the All Blacks raced from 6-3 down to 23-6 ahead.
Ojo gave England some cheer just before the break when he snatched an offload from Carter and sprinted 80 metres to score in the corner.
Within seven minutes of the restart, however, New Zealand were out of sight. First Ma'a Nonu, the explosive inside centre, swatted away Charlie Hodgson's weak tackle to send Muliaina over for the All Blacks' third try. Then Carter and Nonu combined to feed Sivivatu, who eased over for the fourth.
New Zealand: Muliaina, Tuitavake, Smith, Nonu, Sivivatu, Carter, Ellis, Tialata, Hore, Somerville, Thorn, Williams, So'oialo, McCaw, Kaino. Replacements: Mealamu, Schwalger, Boric, Lauaki, Cowan, Donald, MacDonald.
England: Brown, Ojo, Tindall, Barkley, Strettle, Hodgson, Wigglesworth, Sheridan, Mears, Stevens, Palmer, Borthwick, Haskell, Rees, Narraway. Replacements: Paice, Payne, Kay, Worsley, Care, Noon, Tait.
Scorers: New Zealand – Tries: Smith, Carter, Mils, Sitiveni Sivivatu; Conversions: Carter (4); Penalties: Carter (3). England – Tries: Ojo (2); Conversions: Olly Barkley (2); Penalties: Barkley (2).
Referee: Nigel Owens.
WILLIAMS SOLO TRY NOT ENOUGH FOR WALES
SHANE Williams conjured a stunning solo try in the second Test at Loftus Versfeld but it was not enough to prevent Wales slumping to a 37-21 defeat at the hands of South Africa.
Williams showed all his predatory instincts to score from a seemingly impossible position, beating five Springboks on a weaving run to the corner.
Even the home fans had no choice but to stand and applaud his 43rd international try, a magical moment that instilled Wales with the belief they could topple the world champions.
Just as important was an opportunist 20th-minute score from scrum-half Gareth Cooper, who showed his own finishing skills to dart over at a vital stage.
Early tries from Jean de Villiers and Ricky Januarie brought back memories of South Africa's 43-17 romp in the opening Test, but Cooper's quick thinking halted the onslaught.
When the hosts slipped into top gear, however, Wales could not compete with de Villiers burrowing over for the decisive score, while Butch James produced another kicking masterclass.
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