ENGLAND 15
NEW ZEALAND 16

The All Blacks have the satisfaction of winning at Twickenham but they know they dodged a bullet to get there.

England were robbed of a try by the TMO with five minutes to go and were playing with all the fury and the magic in the last period.

They came hard and they came relentlessly as they desperately searched for the last score to get in front, and it took a colossal defensive effort from the All Blacks to cling on.

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And be sure, they were clinging on. They had to scramble with everything they had. They threw themselves into every tackle and played as if their lives depended on it.

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It was never convincing but it was enough and when Richie Mo'unga kicked the ball out at the end, there was more relief than joy for the All Blacks.

But this is how big games in wet weather are. They are about hanging in there and making sure the points are taken when they are on.

Which is what the All Blacks did - and they should feel that for all the nervousness in those last minutes, they have taken a massive step forward.

New Zealand's Beauden Barrett, center, scores a drop goal during the rugby union international match between England and New Zealand at Twickenham stadium. Photo / AP
New Zealand's Beauden Barrett, center, scores a drop goal during the rugby union international match between England and New Zealand at Twickenham stadium. Photo / AP

This was a World Cup knock-out game in every sense, which even saw the All Blacks drop a goal.

That's what it takes to win these games and the burst of points New Zealand scored just before half-time and just after were the difference.

Apart from one dropped pass from Ardie Savea with the line at his mercy, the All Blacks left nothing out there.

They scored when they had to, held on when they had to - and some credit too for England who were predictably controlled and disciplined, wedded to their low risk game which was aided and abetted by the heavens deciding to open 10 minutes before kick-off.

They also had the inevitable emotional surge that all teams have when they play the All Blacks at home - which combined with the rain made for a lethal combination in the first half hour, or at least made England hard to contain.

Ben Youngs at halfback was happy to bide his time and then hoist just about everything to the skies and let his back three chase it - a good ploy.

He was also smart enough to see the All Blacks hadn't covered the short side properly in the opening minutes and he lobbed a perfect pass over the stranded Rieko Ioane's head to allow Chris Ashton a simple early try.

New Zealand's Damian McKenzie, right, score a try during the rugby union international match between England and New Zealand at Twickenham stadium in London. Photo / AP
New Zealand's Damian McKenzie, right, score a try during the rugby union international match between England and New Zealand at Twickenham stadium in London. Photo / AP

It was the worst possible start for the All Blacks – giving England an early in to ignite the crowd and fuel belief is precisely what they didn't want to do.

Curiously it was what they did the last time they played England at Twickenham, allowing Johnny May to scorch them through untouched four years ago.

But lesson not learned and England immediately settled into a relentless grind that was never expansive or overly creative, but it was effective and the All Blacks spent most of that first half hour in their own territory, unable to get their own game going the way they had hoped.

New Zealand Rugby team players performs the Haka prior to the rugby union international match between England and New Zealand at Twickenham stadium in London, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. Photo / AP
New Zealand Rugby team players performs the Haka prior to the rugby union international match between England and New Zealand at Twickenham stadium in London, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. Photo / AP

When England were able to smash a driving maul over the line with half their backline in it, there became an obvious sense of urgency that the All Blacks had to be the next team to score.

They couldn't let the gap get wider than 15-0 and that realisation coincided with the arrival of Ryan Crotty, who seemed to bring a greater confidence to those around him - and more certainty.

England's Chris Ashton scores a try during the rugby union international match between England and New Zealand at Twickenham stadium in London, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)
England's Chris Ashton scores a try during the rugby union international match between England and New Zealand at Twickenham stadium in London, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)

Quite suddenly the momentum shifted back towards New Zealand. The forwards were crunching that little bit further over the gainline.

They were a bit more condensed and willing to charge up the middle which drove the English defensive line back a metre and gave Beauden Barrett that fraction extra bit of time and space to play other runners into better positions.

New Zealand's confidence grew, their game started to flow a little and the points came.

England 15 (C. Ashton, D. Hartley tries; O. Farrell con, DG)

New Zealand 16 (D. McKenzie try; B. Barrett 2 pens, cons, DG)