England vs. New Zealand: England Were Thrashed by All Blacks in Second Test

Daniel ReyFeatured ColumnistJune 15, 2014

DUNEDIN, NEW ZEALAND - JUNE 14:  Chris Robshaw, the England captain, looks dejected after his teams defeat during the International Test Match between the New Zealand All Blacks and England at Forsyth Barr Stadium on June 14, 2014 in Dunedin, New Zealand.  (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
David Rogers/Getty Images

England were thrashed against New Zealand. Forget the 28-27 scoreline, England were thrashed.

After a good first-half performance which saw England lead 10-6 at the break, a combination of English tiredness and Kiwi brilliance saw the All Blacks run in three tries in 22 second-half minutes.

The first half was played at an extraordinary tempo, but England were able to live with the All Blacks during a frenetic opening 40 minutes. However, the seeds were sown then for the New Zealand onslaught that arrived after the break.

England expended huge amounts of energy to keep the patient All Blacks at bay—which later took its toll.

Despite trailing 10-6, the late penalty at the scrum conceded by Joe Marler gave New Zealand momentum going into the interval.

After the break, the Kiwis took advantage of tiring English bodies to scythe through the red rose defence seemingly at will.

Ben Smith’s 43rd minute try embodied this exactly. England conceded possession, and New Zealand spread the ball wide at pace, recognising that England were short of numbers to their left and had only forwards to deal with flyers Julian Savea and the aforementioned Smith.

From then, New Zealand looked like they could score off almost every phase.

Improving as England are, that is the difference that still separates New Zealand from the rest. South Africa and England can match them up front, and have good back divisions themselves, but not the intuitive attacking understanding that New Zealand possess.

England were whole-hearted, but made basic errors that hampered their cause.

Whereas last week it was only Ben Young’s fumble that changed the course of the match, England’s mistakes this week were far more constant. In particular, Danny Care and Billy Twelvetrees were guilty of gifting possession cheaply from kicks that went straight out on the full.

England were more inaccurate in their play than last week, and the decision to move Manu Tuilagi to the wing back-fired on coach Stuart Lancaster.

That being so, for 30 minutes the All Blacks were near-unstoppable. 

England captain Chris Robshaw understated things when talking to RFU TV: "We lost a bit of momentum in that quarter straight after half time."

Two late scores from Mike Brown and Chris Ashton made the scoreline flatter England. In reality, the damage had been done in the first 30 minutes of the second half.

England are improving, but the ability to step up the intensity levels when they need it most is what still puts the New Zealand ahead of the rest.