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New Zealand 37-20 England

New Zealand (3) 37
Tries: Smith, Carter, Muliaina, Sivivatu Cons: Carter 4 Pens: Carter 3

England (6) 20
Tries: Ojo 2 Cons: Barkley 2 Pens: Barkley 2

By James Standley

Conrad Smith scores the first try for New Zealand on Saturday
Conrad Smith was the first of New Zealand's four try scorers

New boss Martin Johnson now knows the size of the task facing him after a young England side were put to the sword in Auckland.

England took an early 6-3 lead but New Zealand hit back with converted tries from Conrad Smith and Dan Carter and three Carter penalties.

Topsy Ojo's interception score cut the hosts' lead to 23-13 at the break.

But Mils Muliaina and Sitiveni Sivivatu added further tries, with Ojo's second score little consolation for England.

It was England's first Test since 2003 World Cup-winning captain Johnson replaced Brian Ashton as England boss, although Rob Andrew is in charge of the tour party because Johnson remained in England as his wife is expecting their second child.

England travelled south without a handful of big names and fielded a side composed entirely of twentysomethings, but New Zealand are a side in transition as well.

They have lost several top players to European club rugby since their unsuccessful World Cup campaign last October and they were less than impressive in defeating Ireland last weekend.

England said all the right things leading into the game and when they started impressively it looked as though an upset might be on the cards, but once the visitors' initial surge ran out of steam New Zealand assumed total control.

It all began so promisingly for England as their youthful back row hammered away at New Zealand and put the hosts on the back foot.

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Olly Barkley landed two penalties to one from Carter and England went close to the first try of the match, Strettle losing control in Jerome Kaino's tackle as he tried to go over in the corner.

But the turning point came when England lost possession from the restart after Barkley's second penalty and the All Blacks hit them with a 20-point blitz.

Carter grubber-kicked in behind the England backline and Smith sliced between three defenders before picking up and diving over for the All Blacks' opening try.

Carter converted and soon added a penalty and two minutes later they scored their second try.

Andrew Ellis attacked from the base of a solid scrum and scissored with Sivivatu, who put Carter over untouched for a sparkling try.

David Strettle is brought down by Jermoe Kaino's try
Strettle came close to scoring the first try of the game

Carter converted from in front and England were suddenly looking as white as their shirts, but it soon got even worse for the visitors.

Giant prop Andrew Sheridan was yellow carded for not rolling away in the tackle and Carter's third penalty meant the hosts led 23-6.

The fly-half may not have been in the best of form going into the game but he was playing beautifully and nearly set up a third New Zealand try with a lovely dummy through the England midfield.

It looked like he had given a scoring pass but Ojo read it beautifully and had the pace to return it over 80m for a stunning try.

Barkley converted to give England a glimmer of hope at the break but the All Blacks slammed the door firmly shut with two tries within five minutes of the restart.

Ma'a Nonu was heavily involved in both, first blasting through a feeble tackle from Hodgson to release Muliaina and then feeding Sivivatu after England lost possession in their own 22.

Two Carter conversions made it 37-13 and any thoughts of an England comeback had been snuffed out.

England hauled off Hodgson and brought on Jamie Noon to shore up their midfield and even managed the final score of the game as Ojo collected a fine kick from replacement scrum-half Danny Care to score his second.

Barkley's conversion trimmed the gap to 37-20 but it was a chastening evening for England's youngsters.


New Zealand: Muliaina; Tuitavake, Smith, Nonu, Sivivatu; Carter, Ellis; Tialata, Hore, Somerville, Thorn, Williams, So'oialo, McCaw (capt), Kaino.
Replacements: Mealamu, Schwalger, Boric, Lauaki, Cowan, Donald, MacDonald.

England: Brown; Ojo, Tindall, Barkley, Strettle; Hodgson, Wigglesworth; Sheridan, Mears, Stevens, Palmer, Borthwick (capt), Haskell, Rees, Narraway.
Replacements: Paice, Payne, Kay, Worsley, Care, Noon, Tait.


see also
Andrew salutes England's resolve
14 Jun 08 |  English
International rugby photos
14 Jun 08 |  Rugby Union
McCaw and Palmer set for reunion
11 Jun 08 |  English
Barkley up for All Blacks battle
12 Jun 08 |  Gloucester
New Zealand 21-11 Ireland
07 Jun 08 |  Rugby Union


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