All Blacks survive England fightback to march on
By Mitch Phillips
LONDON (Reuters) - New Zealand remain on course to complete their perfect year after beating England 30-22 at Twickenham on Saturday but they did it the hard way after the hosts fought back from 17-3 down in a thrilling encounter.
With Twickenham rocking as England led 22-20 and scented a second successive upset win following last year's 38-21 thrashing, the world champions regrouped and managed to send winger Julian Savea over for his second try.
Flyhalf Dan Carter's lasted only 26 minutes in his 100th test but by that time his side were seemingly in control after Savea and Kieran Read scored.
England, with their forwards in total command, roared back with a Joe Launchbury try and superb goalkicking by Owen Farrell and though they were edged out in the end the performance will give their young, developing side huge encouragement.
"It was a hell of a test match," All Blacks captain Richie McCaw told Sky Sports before presenting Carter with his 100th cap.
Carter led the teams on to the pitch in recognition of his 100th cap - joining three other centurions in the All Black side - but he was hurt in an early tackle and replaced by Aaron Cruden.
Only seven of England's starting team from last year's stunning 38-21 victory survived while 13 of the All Blacks were on duty, including Read, the number eight who has made such an impact this season.
He was to the fore again from the start as he delivered a trademark offload after 90 seconds, despite the attention of three tacklers, leaving Savea an easy score. Continued...