Five takeaways from England v New Zealand

Date published: November 10 2018

Following a 16-15 victory for New Zealand over England in their November international, here’s our five takeaways from the Twickenham clash.

Fine margins decide Test matches: Was he or wasn’t he? Courtney Lawes was flirting with the offside line at the ruck before charging down All Black scrum-half TJ Perenara’s box kick which led to Sam Underhill going over. However, TMO Marius Jonker adjudged the Northampton man to have been in an offside position when Perenara lifted the ball from the base, thus ruling out the score. We are 50/50 here, your view?

Perfect start from England: With the rain bucketing down at Twickenham, England started the contest on fire as they played the conditions perfectly. Grubbers in behind, backing the pass when it was on and taking the drop-goal option showed real maturity, with the early stages unrecognisable from their opening against the Springboks. Leading 15-0 after 25 minutes was a performance straight out of the top drawer.

End of half swing: A 15-point cushion at the break was looking probable for England until the closing two minutes of the half. Cue a bold call from captain Kieran Read to go for scrum which led to Damian McKenzie’s well-taken try by the uprights. Following that Owen Farrell’s restart went out on the full, leading to three points from Beauden Barrett, and suddenly it was 15-10 with New Zealand handed a lifeline.

Brodie Retallick role crucial: The arrival of Jamie George seemed to inspire a contest from New Zealand at the line-out and boy did it pay off. Retallick was at the heart of it as he caused havoc on George’s throw, pinching ball after ball which saw him named man-of-the-match.

Owen Farrell at 10 long-term: Eddie Jones simply has to now stick with Farrell at fly-half going into the Rugby World Cup. A debate that’s been a hot topic for some time with George Ford having been the preferred option and Farrell running from 12. But now, finally, Jones has made the call to go with Farrell, whose leadership, game management, defence and attacking qualities are now the focal point for his team.