THE All Blacks’ 20 match unbeaten run is over, humbled 38-21 by England at Twickenham on Saturday.
The men in black were comprehensively outplayed by the hosts, who kept the visitors scorelss in the first half and then killed off the match with three quick tries just as the All Blacks threatened a fightback.
It was no more than England deserved as they were strong in defence, more accurate, and had a backline that was fizzing.
The first 20 minutes was a stalemate, with Owen Farrell breaking the deadlock on 25 minutes with a penalty, after winger Chris Ashton butchered a certain try out wide.
An off-key Dan Carter had the chance to level matters immediately afterwards, but remarkably, missed his second shot at goal from close in front.
Farrell added his second penalty with seven minutes left in the half after Israel Dagg unsuccessfully tried to run the ball out of the All Blacks 22.
The hosts largely camped themselves in the All Blacks half, and while not threatening to cross the line, did stretch the black defence.
A drop goal and third penalty to Farrell extended the advantage to 12-0 at the break, the first time New Zealand had failed to score a first half point since 1998.
Whatever was said by Steve Hansen in the shed didn’t have the desired effect, to begin with anyway, as the All Blacks coughed up another three points to Farrell soon after the restart, this time at the scrum.
That proved something of a spur, as following a break by Cory Jane down the left wing, Julian Savea crashed over in the opposite corner in the 48th minute after his side’s first sustained period of possession in the England 22.
Four minutes later Kieran Read scored New Zealand’s second try in a similar position to the first.
After Ma’a Nonu chipped into the England 22, Dagg fielded the clearing kick.
The ball was moved right, and after Jane straightened, it was a simple numbers game.
Carter’s conversion narrowed the score to 15-14, but that was as close as they got as England scorched away with three quick tries to put the result out of reach.
First Brad Barritt finished off his own break, before Ashton took advantage of a Manu Tuilagi break to end his try-scoring drought.
Samoa-born Tuilagi got a try of his own, intercepting a Read pass to scamper 30-odd metres.
Another penalty to sub Freddie Burns compounded the All Blacks’ misery, handing them their first against New Zealand since 2003, although Savea did add some respectability to the score with his second try and sixth of the tour.
England 38 – Tries: Chris Ashton, Brad Barritt, Manu Tuilagi; Penalties: Owen Farrell (4), Freddie Burns (2); Conversions: Farrell; Drop goal: Farrell
New Zealand 21 – Tries: Julian Savea (2), Kieran Read; Conversions: Dan Carter (2), Aaron Cruden