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Monday, 11 November, 2002, 07:12 GMT
Woodward salutes Wilkinson
Jonny Wilkinson in action against New Zealand
Wilkinson was "outstanding" against New Zealand

Jonny Wilkinson was hailed as one of the greatest players in the world after inspiring England to a 31-28 victory over New Zealand.

Wilkinson's 21 points broke the record for an Englishman's haul against the All Blacks and both coaches paid tribute to him afterwards.


We were beaten by a better team on the day
All Blacks coach
John Mitchell

"Jonny is right up there with the great players in the world," England boss Clive Woodward said.

"There was a lot of pressure on him but I thought he had a wonderful game and scored a great try."

All Blacks coach John Mitchell, Woodward's former number two, was also generous in assessing the Newcastle star's influence on the match.

"Wilkinson is outstanding," he said. "He is getting the rewards for a lot of hard work and his ability to read when our full-back wasn't available showed great quality."

But Woodward refused to get carried away despite his side claiming a record England points tally against New Zealand.

The England coach was not in celebratory mood after the All Blacks recovered from a 17-point deficit to almost snatch a win in the dying moments of a pulsating match.

New Zealand coach John Mitchell
All Blacks coach Mitchell was gracious in defeat

"We are a little bit disappointed with our overall performance but we won the game," he said.

"For 50 minutes we weren't up to the standards we set ourselves, but we have beaten the All Blacks, and not many in our dressing room could say that before today."

Mitchell was gracious in defeat, pointing to the periods before and after the interval as the decisive moments of the match.

"We were beaten by a better team on the day, especially during the 10 minutes before and after half-time - those periods probably cost us the game," he said.

New Zealand may be forced to make changes as they move on to face France in Paris next Saturday.

Stand-off Carlos Spencer, replaced at half-time, suffered a shoulder injury, while scrum-half Steve Devine required stitches and centre Keith Lowen tore a leg muscle.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
England man-of-the-match Jonny Wilkinson
"We'll take the positive of winning into next week"
England captain Martin Johnson
"It was an all-out effort to win"
England coach Clive Woodward:
"Rugby's about confidence and momentum"
 NOV 9 INTERNATIONALS
 ENG V NZ
 IRE V AUS
 WALES V FIJI
 SCOT V ROM
 FRANCE V SA

Links to more International stories are at the foot of the page.


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