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Autumn Tests 2008
8-29 November 2008


England 6-32 New Zealand FT

Wales 21-18 Australia FT

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By Tom Fordyce

1623: Twickenham and the Millennium Stadium now emptying. Quick word from Warren Gatland to send us off: "I'm very proud of the players, and the best team won. We've learned a lot in this past month."

Wales now set up nicely for the Six Nations, England with a big job to do. Thanks for the chat - catch you again soon...

From linebreaker on 606: "Well done of the year, if not past few years. Rightly deserve to be top of 6N and good years ahead."

1619: Richie McCaw raises the big silver plate - and did I just see Graham Henry smiling?

1616: England have been given a lesson at Twickenham - the All Blacks were fitter, quicker to the breakdown and far more disciplined throughout. The visitors go up to collect the new Hillary Trophy from Sir Edmund's widow.

1615: Unbridled joy in Cardiff - Wales hang on despite a frantic finale, and that's a fantastic win in a fantastic game.

Here's man-of-the-match Lee Byrne: "It's been a long time coming. We couldn't come off the pitch with anything but the win."

1612: What an afternoon - England taken apart by a far superior team. No boos for the home side today.

1613: FINAL SCORE - Wales 21-18 Australia

1612: FINAL SCORE - England 6-32 New Zealand

1610 - TRY Wales 21-18 Australia
At the very death, Ioane breaks free to cross. Surely not - but there's enough time for the re-start...

1609 - PEN Wales 21-13 Australia
That could be that - great hit out wide, Australia fail to release and then whinge about the subsequent pen and are moved a further 10m back. Stephen Jones, wobbly with the boot all day, hammers over the three points. Two minutes left...

1607: Now it's Tom Rees's turn to be sin-binned, this time for not moving away. England back down to 14 - they've lost four men to the bin now in this match.

1606: Five to go in Cardiff, and the Wallabies are camped five metres out - but Nathan Sharpe is penalised for killing the ball. Big let-off for Wales, and the nerves are clanging now...

1603 - TRY England 6-30 NZ
England lose the ball in contact deep in the Kiwi half. Mealamu off-loads to Sivivatu, and he feeds Nonu to race all the way home from halfway. Brilliant try, Carter lands the conversion for 6-32.

1602: Wales go through the phases on halfway, but they can't make any headway.

1600: England blowing out of the wrong holes now, and Croft just prevents Sivivatu's kick being touched down by that man Muliaina again.

1558 - DROP GOAL Wales 18-13 Australia
Well done Stephen Jones - he gets the reward for three minutes of hammering Welsh pressure to float over a three-pointer from 30m out. Huge roars at the Millennium Stadium.

1556 - TRY England 6-25 NZ
Sweet chip from Carter over the line with the defence up high, and Muliaina catches in acres of space to go over in the left-hand corner again. The All Blacks turning it on now, although Carter misses the conversion.

1555: All the rugby is being played in Wales's half, but Wales get a relieving penalty as the Aussies are called for collapsing the scrum. 15 minutes to go in Cardiff.

1553: PEN England 6-20 NZ
Another Carter pen after Easter is done for diving into a ruck. England are shooting themselves in both feet with a Gatling gun.

1551: More Aussie pressure, and Stephen Jones kicks from deep in his own 22. Wales are penalised for killing the ball at the subsequent ruck - Andy Bishop the guilty man - and Giteau kicks for the corner.

1548: TRY England 6-17 NZ
England's scrum on their own 6m line is destroyed. The ball is fizzed wide, England run out of numbers and Muliaina dives over in the right-hand corner. Carter misses the pen. England in deep trouble.

1547: Silly mistake from the All Blacks after Cowan breaks between Care and Flood. Brad Thorn knocks on with England in all sorts of trouble.

1544: What a match at Cardiff - end to end stuff, a crazy pace. Tuquri comes in to nail Shane, and it's balanced on a knife-edge. 'Bread of Heaven' rings out.

1543: Vickery off, Stevens on at Twickenham. In Dubai, England's sevens team have beaten their All Black counterparts 21-19. Small mercies.

1541: Carter show-and-go to leave Care clutching at thin air. Armitage and Noon make desperate tackles and Carter knocks on. Whoosh.

1540: Carter has an immediate chance to stretch the lead but pushes it left. Let-off - his third missed pen of the day.

1538 - PEN England 6-12 NZ
Infringement at the scrum and Delon Armitage nails a beauty from the left-hand touchline. Interesting...

1536: England haring into tackles at the start of this half, and it's all getting a bit tasty in there. McCaw gets another talking-to from Ref Rolland.

1535: Dear oh dear - Stephen Jones misses another very, very kickable pen. Wales should be 21-13 up at least.

1532 - PEN Wales 15-13 Australia
Australia's best period of the match. Three scything phases end with Ryan Jones being penalised at the ruck, and Giteau curls the pen over.

1530: Organised defence from NZ - and when Cowan breaks away, Toby Flood is yellow-carded for a panicky high tackle. England down to 14.

1528: And under way at Twickenham. Nick Easter makes a break and is almost through - but a last-gasp tap-tackle from Carter hauls him down. So close for England...

1526: We're under way again in Cardiff - and that's a dreadful penalty miss from Stephen Jones after Phil Waugh goes to ground. Really should have been 18-10.

1517: HALF-TIME England 3-12 New Zealand
England are in this, but if they don't cut the errors out, they're dead and buried.

1515: HALF-TIME Wales 15-10 Australia
What a half in Cardiff - the only complaint about Wales is that they should be so much further ahead. Oh yeah - and their lineout has been patchy at best. Can they now keep this going for the full 80?

1512 - PEN England 3-12 NZ
Dear oh dear - England give away a 10th pen, and Carter drills it down the middle from 45m. England matching the All Blacks in terms of possession, but handing their opponents points on a plate.

1514: Wales blow another great chance as the Aussie scrum, down to eight men, falls apart and Powell breaks free but fails to find M Williams with the off-load.

1512 - PEN England 3-9 NZ
Another penalty shipped by England, this time from Mears just after he's returned. Carter lands this one to stretch the All Blacks lead.

1510: Wales should have scored again - Gareth Cooper shoots through the line, is held up but manages to release to Martyn Williams - but the flanker spills the ball with the line at his mercy. Wales are playing at an incredible pace, throwing the ball around like the Ba-Ba's. Fantastic first half in Cardiff.

1508: England are now down to 13 men as James Haskell is sin-binned for a swinging arm. England have now given away eight pens in the first 32 minutes. Unbelievably, Carter misses another pen - just two out of four so far.

1505: TRY Wales 13-10 Australia
More Welsh pressure, and as Shane Williams carries the ball along the line, Lee Byrne times his run beautifully to slice through the Wallaby defence. With Australia a man down, Wales worked that very sensibly indeed. Jones lands the conversion for 15-10.

1504: Attempted drop-goal from Toby Flood, but that's woeful. Groans around Twickenham.

1503: PEN England 3-6 NZ
Carter gets it right this time after Care is penalised for diving over at the ruck. Skipper Borthwick gets a stern lecture from Ref Rolland.

1501: PEN Wales 8-10 Australia
And now Aussie hooker Stephen Moore is yellow-carded for killing the ball as Wales batter the Aussie line. Stephen Jones bangs over an easy three points.

1459: Lee Mears is sin-binned for slowing the ball down, but Carter misses badly from the subsequent pen.

1459: DROP GOAL - Wales 5-10 Australia
Sweet, sweet dropper from Matt Giteau. Australia build good pressure 15m out and their fly-half is in the slot to nail the three points from 30m out.

1458: Encouraging start for England, this - they're holding their own, and Kennedy is causing trouble at the NZ lineout.

1455: Handbags at Twickenham, with Michael Lipman keeping things spicy with Brad Thorn. Ref Rolland has a word with McCaw again too.

In Cardiff, Wales lose the ball inside the Wallabies 22. Just need a little patience in there - they're losing the ball in contact too many times, the Grand Slam champs.

1452: PEN - England 3-3 NZ
Woodcock is penalised for collapsing, and this time Flood makes no mistake - straight down the middle from 38m.

1451: Roberts goes off injured after that wallop with Morlock, and Bishop's on in his place. Hook stays on the bench - hmmm.

1449: PEN - England 0-3 NZ
Danny Care kicks the ball away and Dan Carter drills over the subsequent penalty from 35m. Cynical foul from Care, but a fine pot from Carter.

1446: TRY - Wales 5-5 Australia
Disaster for Wales - from a lineout deep in Aussie territory, the ball breaks for Mark Chisholm and the big unit races all the way down the other end for a score completely against the run of play. Conversion from Giteau for 5-7.

1445: Chance for England, five metres out - but Flutey is swarmed and is penalised for not releasing.

1442: Lordy - Byrne hoists a high one and is absolutely cleaned out as Drew Mitchell slips into contact. The ref rules it accidental, and it'll be a scrum just over halfway.

1440: McCaw is penalised for offside - interesting. Flood will have a pop at the posts - but misses left from 35m. Groans from the crowd.

1437: Nick Kennedy disrupts the first NZ line-out after two Toby Flood errors. Nervy at Twickenham.

1436 - TRY - Wales 5-0 Australia
Fantastic move from Wales, Lee Byrne freeing Roberts. There's an overlap out wide, and Shane Williams gathers to dive over. Lovely handling all the way through. Stephen Jones misses the conversion.

1435: Morlock's not going to carry on here - he limps off, with Cooper replacing him.

1433: Haka-time at Twickers, and the England players are arm-in-arm on the 10m line as the crowd bellow out Swing Low.

1430: We're off in Cardiff, and Wales win an early scrum midway inside the NZ half. Jamie Roberts and Stirling Mortlock run into each other from the subsequent ball and both players are in trouble.

1427: ...and they're out at Twickenham too, or at least the All Blacks are. England seem to be waiting back in the dressing-room, maybe as an anti-haka move, maybe because they're just plain scared.

As Richie McCaw strides out, half the East Stand starts sobbing.

1425: Here come the teams in Cardiff - tremendous noise as Ryan Jones leads the way. The lid's on again up above, and here come the anthems.

1421: And now for a slice of Warren Gatland: "I spoke to the players and told them 'the losing's over'.

1419: Apparently it's 30 degrees warmer in Brisbane today than in Cardiff. I'm not sure whether to be surprised or not. Nice burst of Delilah around the Millennium Stadium.

1413: Little bit of chat from the brooding brow of Martin Johnson: "We have a game plan in mind for the first 20 minutes, we'll see where we go from there. New Zealand have not lost a lot of Test matches here but we have a chance. We have very little to lose and we are big underdogs.

"It's been a tough week and today is about character, every game is."

From BBC Sport's Bryn Palmer at Twickenham: "A sight to strike fear into the heart of every Englishman...Have just seen the great Jonah Lomu being escorted around the West Stand perimeter with six security guards in tow. The big man looks in good shape. He has happy memories of Twickenham of course. Tries against England in both their pool matches at the 1991 and 1999 World Cups. Then there was that 1995 World Cup semi-final...but let's not go there."

1408, from Polska_leeds on 606: "Sat here in Cardiff the streets are running red with just a tinge of gold to highlight it. Was here to greet the Welsh bus on St Mary's Street and the boys look fired up."

1402: Chilly afternoons in both south-west London and south Wales. My colleague Bryn Palmer at Twickenham is wearing four layers, with a fifth to reach for at half-time. Hats a medical necessity, I'd say.

1356: Interesting chat from excellentovalball on 606: "England ARE going to win. They haven't got much left to lose."

Anyone else follow that logic?

I sense it's going to be one of those games where England fire

1350: A reminder of today's teams, should you have been asleep all week:

England: D Armitage; P Sackey, J Noon, R Flutey; U Monye; T Flood, D Care; T Payne, L Mears, P Vickery, S Borthwick (capt), N Kennedy, J Haskell, M Lipman, N Easter.
Replacements: D Hartley, M Stevens, T Croft, T Rees, H Ellis, D Cipriani, D Hipkiss.

New Zealand: M Muliaina; J Rokocoko, C Smith, M Nonu, S Sivivatu; D Carter, J Cowan; T Woodcock, K Mealamu, N Tialata, B Thorn, A Williams, J Kaino, R McCaw (capt), R So'oialo.
Replacements: H Elliott, J Afoa, A Boric, K Read, P Weepu, S Donald, I Toeava.

And in Cardiff:

Wales: Lee Byrne; Mark Jones, Tom Shanklin, Jamie Roberts, Shane Williams, Stephen Jones, Gareth Cooper; Gethin Jenkins, Matthew Rees, Adam Jones, Ian Gough, Alun Wyn Jones, Ryan Jones, Martyn Williams, Andy Powell.

Australia: Drew Mitchell; Peter Hynes, Ryan Cross, Stirling Mortlock, Digby Ioane; Matt Giteau, Luke Burgess; Benn Robinson, Stephen Moore, Al Baxter, Mark Chisholm, Nathan Sharpe, Hugh McMeniman, Phil Waugh, Richard Brown.

1345: Afternoon all - all set?

Let's be honest - it's been a somewhat tricky autumn for the northern hemisphere teams against the south. For Wales there's been two good 40 minutes, but not in the same match; for England, about 40 decent minutes out of 240.

Will that change today? Here's one clue - you can get 14-1 on an England win; Wales are marginal favourites in Cardiff.

see also
England 6-32 New Zealand
29 Nov 08 |  Rugby Union
Carter eyes 'grand slam' send-off
27 Nov 08 |  Rugby Union
Zinzan Brooke column
27 Nov 08 |  Rugby Union
Jeremy Guscott column
28 Nov 08 |  Rugby Union
All black for England?
27 Nov 08 |  Rugby Union
Wales 21-18 Australia
29 Nov 08 |  Welsh
Wallaby wonders: Aussie rugby
21 Oct 08 |  Rugby Union
England 6-42 South Africa
22 Nov 08 |  English
Scotland 41-0 Canada
22 Nov 08 |  Rugby Union
Ireland 17-3 Argentina
22 Nov 08 |  Irish
Wales 9-29 New Zealand
22 Nov 08 |  Welsh

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