England shock All Blacks
Delirium was the order of the day on Saturday at Twickenham as England defeated New Zealand 38-21 with three second-half tries.
New Zealand responded to a 15-0 defecit with scores from Julian Savea and Kieran Read, before England took charge thanks to three of their own from Brad Barritt, Chris Ashton and Manu Tuilagi in an astonishing second-half performance.
Owen Farrell endured a tumultuous week with being named as one of the best four players in the world, as if the pressure coming for England's most-capped player in Toby Flood wasn't enough. But the young Saracen flourished, showing great poise with the boot as he continued to tally up the points and steered England during the first half.
The All Blacks had been struck down by a vomiting bug during the week and despite Richie McCaw's claim that it would not affect them at Twickenham, New Zealand did not look themselves at all during the first 50 minutes as they were denied possession.
Julian Savea's try changed all of that; stepping his way through three England defenders in the left-hand corner to breathe life into the All Blacks. They flicked the switch and thundered forward from the re-start, sticking to their principles of running rugby and exploiting gaps that they left untouched in the first half.
England though were not simply going to fall down on their knees. Instead they roared back, thumping the All Blacks as the second half wore on. The rarest of breaks from Brad Barritt had the crowd roaring and a one-two with centre partner Tuilagi led to the hosts' first try.
Tuilagi then skipped through a tackle from Dan Carter to burst free, feeding Ashton who sprinted over for the second try. A Tuilagi interception then sealed the match, cruising home and slowing down as he neared the line as if he couldn't believe his luck. England were like a new team - the All Blacks were exhausted.
Whilst Carter missed two shots at goal in the first half, his fellow IRB Player of the Year nominee Farrell was accurate - knocking over two first-half penalties to give England a surprising 6-0 lead to the delight of the home crowd.
An overthrown lineout from Keven Mealamu resulted in another English driving maul before Tuilagi burst into the 22 and with the advantage being played, Farrell dropped back and stretched England's lead to nine.
Another infringement with seconds remaining left Farrell with another chance to strike before half-time, landing the 48 metre kick to leave the score at 12-0. Twickenham had never been more pleasantly surprised.
The run continued after the break with England winning a penalty at the scrum, Farrell again converting to leave New Zealand more than two converted tries behind the hosts.
Those tries duly arrived in two explosive bangs in the left-hand corner; the first coming from Savea then the second coming as the conclusion to some wonderful passing that left Read galloping into the corner before England scorched away. Savea responded with a try with only five minutes left but it was not enough as the All Blacks lost for the first time in 2012.
Tries: Barritt, Ashton, Tuilagi
Pens: Farrell (5), Burns
Yellow Card: Vunipola
For New Zealand:
Tries: Savea (2), Read
Cons: Carter (2), Cruden
England: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 Mike Brown, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Chris Robshaw (c), 6 Tom Wood, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Alex Corbisiero.
Replacements: 16 David Paice, 17 David Wilson, 18 Mako Vunipola, 19 Courtney Lawes 20 James Haskell, 21 Danny Care, 22 Freddie Burns, 23 Jonathan Joseph.
New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 Liam Messam, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Charlie Faumunia, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Victor Vito, 21 Piri Weepu, 22 Aaron Cruden, 23 Ben Smith.