Carter sweeps England aside
Fly-half's masterclass sets up New Zealand victory
By Graeme Mair. Last Updated: 14/06/08 3:20pm
Carter: tormented England
Daniel Carter scored 22 points to lead New Zealand to a 37-20 win over England at Eden Park, Auckland.
The fly-half's haul featured a try, four conversions and three penalties, taking him passed 700 Test points in the process, and was supplemented by further tries from Conrad Smith, Mils Muliaina and Sitiveni Sivivatu.
London Irish winger Topsy Ojo marked his debut with a try at the end of each half and Olly Barkley kicked England's remaining points on his international comeback, although it did not hide the gulf in class between the two sides.
A new-look England, led by Steve Borthwick, had begun in positive fashion, forcing the All Blacks into mistakes and edging 6-3 ahead on 21 minutes through two Barkley penalties.
And it could have been even better for the visitors had Jerome Kaino not produced a magnificent try-saving tackle that forced England winger David Strettle into touch.
Strettle's inability to finish in the left corner immediately proved costly as New Zealand responded with a 20-point burst in the space of 11 minutes to charge into a commanding 23-6 lead just past the half-hour.
Outside centre Smith ran onto Carter's grubber for the opener on 23 minutes and Carter added the second himself six minutes later after being released by the impressive Sivivatu.
To make matters worse, prop Andrew Sheridan was then sent to the sin-bin for killing the ball on the floor. Despite their numerical disadvantage, England kept themselves in touch with a try just prior to the break.
Carter's overambitious offload deep in England territory was intercepted by Ojo, who outpaced Muliaina to take it back all the way.
Any hope that Ojo's try would spark a second-half comeback from the men in white was swiftly dispelled by a New Zealand try-double within the first seven minutes of the restart.
Full-back Muliaina was on-hand to finish off a superb break from Ma'a Nonu, who had run straight through Charlie Hodgson's attempted tackle.
That was followed three minutes later by winger Sivivatu crossing unopposed in the left corner after England had coughed up turnover ball to leave their defence woefully out of position.
Hodgson, whose weak defence had been successfully targeted by the hosts, was withdrawn for Jamie Noon shortly afterwards, prompting Barkley to switch to stand-off.
England improved further with the introduction of scrum-half Danny Care, who replaced Richard Wigglesworth for his debut in the final quarter.
The All Blacks appeared content to defend their advantage with Carter being withdrawn for the final 10 minutes - the outcome of the game having long since been decided.
Ojo completed a promising debut by adding his second try in the 74th minute by collecting Care's chip forward and sprinting past Sione Lauaki and Sivivatu to the line. Barkley's conversion reduced the final margin of defeat to 17 points.
Mike Tindall's late sin-binning capped a disappointing day for England, who managed to lose comprehensively despite starting and finishing the match as the stronger team.
They now face a tough task to regroup for the second Test in Christchurch next Saturday.