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December 2, 2012

World Champion All Blacks taste first defeat in 21 Tests

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World Champion All Blacks taste first defeat in 21 Tests

By SANZAR News Service and allblacks.com

A stunning five minutes which produced three tries for England sank New Zealand as the home team shook off all their frustrations to achieve a famous 38-21 victory at Twickenham on Sunday.

They took more points out of the All Blacks than any other England side and washed away all the disappointments of their home programme with a win that will be long remembered in English rugby history while also seeing England claim the Hillary Shield.

New Zealand were never able to impose themselves on the game and had been down 0-15 just after the half-time break and scored two quick tries themselves, but England stuck back in outstanding fashion by taking advantage of an unusually leaky midfield in five minutes of comparative mayhem.

Running the ball with rare effect, England made the most of an impressively combative forward pack which contested everything with spirit. And behind them first five-eighths Owen Farrell had a fine goal-kicking game to land 17 points from four penalty goals, a conversion and a dropped goal.

Hooker Tom Youngs set the precedent with some outstanding running with the ball in hand by burrowing into the All Blacks defences. Lock Joe Launchbury was also an impressive performer in defence. Skipper and flanker Chris Robshaw answered his critics with an emphatic display which was highlighted by the stifling control England were able to inflict on New Zealand's attacking instincts while he had great support from Man of the Match and fellow flanker Tom Wood.

In the first half a try chance was blown when wing Chris Ashton couldn't hold a final pass, the advantage was played and a penalty goal was kicked from the chance by first five-eighths Owen Farrell 24 minutes into the game.

Then in the 31st minute All Blacks fullback Israel Dagg was penalised for holding too long in the tackle. Again Farrell made no mistake. A dropped goal to Farrell three minutes from halftime extended the lead and he had a chance again right on halftime which gave his side their lead.

By contrast, first five-eighths Dan Carter missed both his penalty goal chances.

Farrell extended the lead to 15-0 two minutes after the resumption after a scrum penalty against prop Tony Woodcock.

However, that seemed to fuel the All Blacks fires. They held the ball more in forward charges to tie in the England defence. That allowed room from wing Cory Jane to unleash a superb run, beating several defenders while carrying the ball down the sideline.

The ball was moved inside and Carter took the gap to give more momentum. Then skipper and flanker Richie McCaw drove before No.8 Kieran Read repeated the dose. That freed ball on the blindside where quick hands gave wing Julian Savea enough room to corkscrew his way across the line for the try.

Three minutes later, Jane made the most of a poor Dagg clearing kick to feed second five-eighths Ma'a Nonu. He raced down the sideline and kicked ahead and while England cleared, the chance was set up for New Zealand to attack again and as the ball moved left, it was Jane on the opposite wing who created more room with another dazzling run. And when the ball emerged it was Read who grabbed the ball and scored. Carter showed he had regained his kicking touch by landing both conversions.

England refused to be cowed however, as they moved the ball from the re-start and it was second five-eighths Brad Barritt who made the most of a strategic choice by Conrad Smith which left the gap. He raced through, fed centre Manu Tuilagi who returned the ball for Barritt to score.

Two minutes later it was Tuilagi who burst through on a strong run and when he found Chris Ashton outside him there was no doubt the second England try would be scored as he cleared out with his trademark gesture and dive.

As New Zealand attempted to run their way back into the game, it was a short pass from Read that was intercepted by Tuilagi and he had no trouble to race 40m to score and with Farrell's conversion England led 32-14.

Two penalty goals to replacement five-eighths Freddie Burns extended the final margin and while there was a second try to Savea it was all academic in the end.