Rugby - New Zealand sneak to win over England in first Test

World champions New Zealand struggled to snuff out the challenge of an understrength England side reduced to 14 men for most of the final 10 minutes before they sneaked to a 20-15 victory at Eden Park.

Reuters
Rugby - New Zealand sneak to win over England in first Test
.

View photo

Chris Robshaw is grounded (Getty Images)

Winger Marland Yarde's yellow card in the 68th minute for a professional foul turned the match in New Zealand's favour with Aaron Cruden slotting his fifth penalty to give the All Blacks their first lead of the game.

Conrad Smith then scored a 78th-minute try to give the All Blacks the victory that extended their winning streak at Eden Park to 32 games.

England fly-half Freddie Burns kept his side in the match with four penalties before replacement Danny Cipriani added a 74th minute penalty for his side, who were without several first-choice players following the Premiership final last weekend.

The scoring in the first half was restricted to three penalties each to Burns and Cruden as England controlled the tempo of the game and did not allow the All Blacks to set up successive phases and develop any rhythm.

The All Blacks at least tried to up their tempo at the start of the second half but England were again able to stymie their attack and slow the game down.

Their errors also continued in the second half with Israel Dagg dropping a pass with an overlap outside him, while Jerome Kaino knocked on with the tryline open after a superb kick and chase by scrumhalf Aaron Smith.

Both sides had the opportunity to score tries in the second half but the match ultimately turned on Yarde's yellow card after he failed to roll away following a tackle on Brodie Retallick.

While Cipriani levelled the scores, Smith's late try gave the hosts the breathing room they required, though the visitors now head to next week's second Test in Dunedin with supreme confidence with a full squad to pick from.

View comments (31)
  • Bell steers England to victory, hosts take 2-1 Ashes lead

    Bell steers England to victory, hosts take 2-1 Ashes lead

    Ian Bell guided England to an eight-wicket victory over Australia in the third test at Edgbaston on Friday to put the hosts 2-1 up in the series with two matches to play. Bell (65 not out) and Joe Root, with an unbeaten 38, anchored the chase after England were set to 121 to win on the third day at Edgbaston where a dominant performance banished memories of a heavy defeat at Lord's. England lost Alastair Cook (7) and Adam Lyth (12) to set a few nerves on edge but Bell, dropped on 20 by Australia captain Michael Clarke, made his second 50 of the match to spark raucous celebrations after Root hit the winning runs. More »

    Reuters - 1 hour 23 minutes ago
  • Lambert leaves Liverpool to join West Brom

    Lambert leaves Liverpool to join West Brom

    Liverpool offload Rickie Lambert after just one unproductive season at Anfield More »

    Reuters - 11 minutes ago
  • Serie A - Confusion as Stevan Jovetic joins Inter

    Serie A - Confusion as Stevan Jovetic joins Inter

    Inter Milan have signed Stevan Jovetic from Manchester City, although there were conflicting reports as to whether it was a loan or permanent switch. More »

    Eurosport - 1 hour 53 minutes ago
  • Can we ever trust Fifa again? Football writer Jonathan Wilson and Copa90's Eli Mengem investigate

    Can we ever trust Fifa again? Football writer Jonathan Wilson and Copa90's Eli Mengem investigate

    Can we ever trust Fifa again? Who replaces Sepp Blatter? These key questions and more are answered on this week's episode of The Rail, as Spencer is joined by football writer Jonathan Wilson and Copa90's Eli Mengem. More »

    Copa90 - 1 hour 49 minutes ago
  • No snow no problem as China's financial might lands 2022 Games

    No snow no problem as China's financial might lands 2022 Games

    The snow will be fake, but the very real financial muscle China boasts proved decisive on Friday when Beijing won the right to host the 2022 Winter Olympics. Games officials meeting in Kuala Lumpur voted for the Chinese capital over the lure of a winter wonderland offering from Kazakhstan's Almaty, in a clear sign that the International Olympic Committee is craving solidity and security after a series of problems and headaches. While Rio scrambles to make up lost time in its building for the 2016 Olympics, and Tokyo is embroiled in a stadium drama the allure of a megacity with a cast-iron financial guarantee proved irresistible. More »

    Reuters - 3 hours ago