England coach Jones rues lost chances

Jo Caldwell
November 11, 2018

England have waited four years for a shot at the All Blacks and stormed out of the blocks for an early 15-0 lead - Chris Ashton and Dylan Hartley touching down while Owen Farrell contributed a conversion and a drop goal.

England got their reward on the scoreboard as tries for Chris Ashton and Dylan Hartley helped them to a fully-deserved 15-0 lead after 25 minutes as the All Blacks made a series of errors in hard, wet conditions.

New Zealand star Beauden Barrett has admitted it will be both "exciting" and "weird" to play against his former Hurricanes team-mate Brad Shields when the All Blacks face England at Twickenham on Saturday.

They also tied a series with a British and Irish Lions team in which England players occupied 19 of the 45 starting places across the three Tests, bolstered by their Wales and Ireland counterparts.

But mistakes towards the end of the first half cost them dear.

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New Zealand almost caught England cold right at the start of the second half after a jinking McKenzie sliced his way through before linking with Ben Smith and Aaron Smith only for wing Rieko Ioane to drop the scrum-half's pass when a try was in sight.

Strong carries from Underhill, Kyle Sinckler and Maro Itoje in a rampaging start sucked in defenders and when Ben Youngs spotted Ashton stationed on the touchline, he sent the Sale wing sliding over with a floated pass.

Meanwhile, veteran centre Sonny Bill Williams has been put on notice ahead Saturday's Test with England as the depth of midfield talent continues to swell within the All Blacks squad.

When New Zealand were in a similar position in the 60th minute, they kicked for the posts with Barrett landing what proved to be the match-winning penalty.

The All Blacks' relatively low total of points from the boot is largely due to eschewing penalty attempts in favour of going for the line - their penalty attempts per game is comfortably the lowest of the nine teams - and the wisdom of that is borne out by their prolific try-scoring. We went for the line-out. Barrett converted to make it 15-7.

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If Hillary put New Zealand on the map, the all-conquering All Blacks have made it the center of the universe when it comes to rugby. England were caught offside and the All Blacks were back within touching distance with Barrett's penalty making it 15-10 at the break.

"They lost by one point and you don't get many chances to beat the All Blacks".

Heading into the final quarter, New Zealand continued to press and took the lead after Barrett slotted his second penalty when England were penalised for offsides. "We see the game".

But, it was late in the second half for when it really peaked for its utter zenith, and it was more a primal howl of indignation when Sam Underhill's remarkable effort was deemed no-try because of Courtney Lawes' offside charge down.

Their all black jerseys are recognizable the world over, but playing with a red poppy on the sleeve to honor those killed in war will be "a special occasion", according to New Zealand rugby coach Steve Hansen.

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