QBE Internationals: All Blacks beat England in thriller at Twickenham
Last Updated: 16/11/13 5:25pm
New Zealand avenged last year's defeat at Twickenham but were given a mighty fright by England before emerging from a titanic struggle with a 30-22 victory, their 13th in an unbeaten 2013.
England trailed 17-3 early in the game, battled back to lead 22-20 after a hour but succumbed to a ferocious finish from the All Blacks.
New Zealand went ahead early through tries from the outstanding Kieran Read and Julian Savea, but England kept in touch through a scrappy try from Joe Launchbury and the relentlessly accurate boot of Owen Farrell.
It was Farrell's sixth kick from six which edged England ahead briefly but Savea's second try and a conversion and penalty from Aaron Cruden - on as a replacement for the injured Dan Carter - kept New Zealand's unbeaten year intact.
Carter joined the ranks of rugby's Test centurions, but his afternoon lasted just 26 minutes until injury ended his involvement.
The fifth All Black to reach 100 caps contributed a penalty and two conversions before making way for Cruden.
England started brightly but the home fans were stunned into silence when their line was breached after just 105 seconds.
New Zealand broke down the left wing through Read and some naive defending saw the number eight suck in Chris Ashton, Tom Wood and Billy Vunipola.
Somehow Read slipped a pass out to the lurking Savea and the wing had the simplest of run-ins, with Carter converting.
A penalty from Farrell got England on the board and Ben Foden thought he had scored a try after intercepting and running two thirds of the pitch, but referee Craig Joubert had spotted offside. To rub salt into Foden's wound, Carter kicked the penalty.
By the 18th minute New Zealand had surged 17-3 ahead with their second try started when lock Brodie Retallick sent prop Owen Franks racing through a gap.
The ball was recycled quickly and fed right where Foden was outnumbered and Read easily loped over. Carter added the conversion.
Finally England exerted some pressure, declining a shot at goal and kicking for touch to enable their forwards to pound away at the All Blacks' line.
They appeared to have mauled their way over, but video referee Gareth Simmonds controversially refused to award the try.
The score arrived moments later, however, when the ball squirted out of a five-metre scrum, touched the boots of Chris Robshaw and Wood before falling to Launchbury who gathered it up and fell over the line.
Farrell converted and then exchanged penalties with Cruden, reducing the deficit to 20-13 and with the added benefit of Read being sent to the sin-bin for entering a breakdown from the side.
The pendulum had swung in the final 10 minutes of the first half, England's resurgence founded on their dominant pack and Joubert's willingness to penalise the All Blacks at the breakdown.
And the shift in power continued after the interval as England produced their best passage of play with their backs also involved, only for Ashton to kick the ball away.
The action was captivating as New Zealand counter-attacked, missed a penalty and then allowed increasingly influential Billy Twelvetrees to burst through their ranks.
When Ashton was illegally blocked by Wyatt Crockett as he chased his own kick, England won a penalty landed by Farrell.
Rattled New Zealand continued to be penalised at the breakdown when they conceded again, they slipped behind for the first time in the match as Farrell hit the target.
The lead lasted just four minutes, however, as the All Blacks produced a stunning response in the face of some tiring home defence.
Desperate scrambling defence kept New Zealand out in the left corner, but a brilliant offload from Ma'a Nonu gave Savea a sniff of the line and he pounced, with Cruden converting.
A penalty from Cruden put the All Blacks eight points ahead and finally England's resistance had been broken.
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QBE Internationals 2013: England v New Zealand
Stuart Barnes believes England will benefit far more from loss to New Zealand than if they had won.
England coach Stuart Lancaster admits he will face early selection problems in New Zealand next summer.
Chris Robshaw is targeting victory in the Six Nations after the narrow defeat by world champions New Zealand.
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