All Blacks stunned by England

By Gregor Paul in London

ENGLAND 38
NEW ZEALAND 21

The unbeaten record has gone. The season has ended in stunningly bad fashion with England bursting into astonishing life at Twickenham to not only beat the All Blacks - but to beat them well and to beat them playing inspired rugby.

England looked a lot more like the All Blacks than New Zealand did. They were smart, they were committed and they were creative. And on top of that they were relentlessly physical. They won because they deserved it - ran the All Blacks off their feet in the end after blasting them off in the first half. New Zealand didn't have a lot of answers - it's been a long season for sure but they were in London to win and didn't stand a chance, not because of fatigue but because they weren't allowed to play the game they wanted.

They weren't really allowed to play any game as England controlled things for most of the game bar the first 10 minutes of the second half when the All Blacks scored two tries and gave the impression they were going to storm home at a canter.

Didn't happen. It was England all the way from there. Much like France did on the same ground in 1999 at about the same stage in the game, England went a little crazy.

Something clicked and they scored three tries in 10 minutes and probably would have felt a little irked that it wasn't more. The last was a gift from an intercept pass from Kieran Read and as Manu Tuilagi cantered down the length of the field to score, the stadium knew then that England were home and more than that, they were on the verge of having found themselves.

England are peppered with criticism for not playing a Southern Hemisphere style of rugby. But why should they? When they play their own style, they can be deadly.

They were impressive in the way they mixed their brutality with a bit of trickery and movement in the midfield to keep the momentum going. Why take the All Blacks on at the high tempo business? No one wins when they try. So England kept it simple and they kept it effective and once they had built the pressure, then they went wider and harder and faster.

It was a supremely well constructed performance that had flow and momentum all of its own.

The pack worked the one off runners around the fringes and then Owen Farrell would bring Manu Tuilaigi into the game on direct busts up the middle and off they would go again. Some good tactical kicking was mixed in and New Zealand were made to look ordinary - rattled and scrambling, easily the toughest 40 minutes they have endured in 2012.

There was too much east to west rugby from the All Blacks in that period - compounded by too many mistakes. They couldn't build any momentum of their own because the quick ball they wanted was denied them and also because England held their line well across the field.

Daniel Carter's boot went a little awry as well - missing two penalties he normally wouldn't to give the impression things weren't as they should be in the All Black camp.

England 38 (B. Barritt, C. Ashton, M. Tuilagi tries; O. Farrell 4 pens, DG; F. Burns 2 pens)
New Zealand 21 (J. Savea (2), K. Read tries; D. Carter 2 cons; A. Cruden con)

- Herald on Sunday

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