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All Blacks clinch series against England

AAP
Saturday, June 14, 2014

Update: 10:14PM THE All Blacks spluttered into life in the second half to hold off England 28-27 in the second Test in Dunedin and clinch their three-match series.

The mistake-ridden hosts trailed 10-0 after eight minutes and were still down 10-6 at halftime before powering clear with three tries in the third quarter of a fast-moving Test.

They conceded two late tries but were never in danger of losing after skipping 28-13 ahead entering the final 10 minutes.

It was far from a perfect performance from either side, with mistakes prominent despite perfect conditions at the indoor stadium.

As happened in last week's 20-15 first Test win in Auckland, the All Blacks were squeezed into early errors by the bigger, more disciplined visitors.

However, they began unfurling their best rugby before halftime and broke a tiring English defensive line repeatedly during a thrilling period after the break, crossing through fullback Ben Smith, wing Julian Savea and second five-eighth Ma'a Nonu.

It was the All Blacks' 16th successive win and they can move level with the world record streak for a tier-one nation if successful in the third Test at Hamilton next weekend.

England's early dominance resulted in a penalty to first five-eighth Owen Farrell and his conversion of a try to wing Marland Yarde who busted through the tackle of All Blacks captain Richie McCaw from close range.

All Blacks No.10 Aaron Cruden responded with penalties in the 12th and 40th minutes, the latter coming after arguably the most important play of the game.

England wing Manu Tuilagi picked up a spilled ball and powered 85m before being run down 5m out by Smith, who also effected a turnover.

The outstanding Smith, playing the first of his 28 Tests at his favoured fullback position, cracked open the floodgates soon after halftime, following some slick work from Cruden and Savea.

Savea crossed for his 20th try in 21 Tests shortly afterwards to put the hosts 18-13 clear.

England's discipline began to unravel, resulting in a yellow card to Farrell in the 60th minute for persistent offending.

Nonu was rewarded for a bright attacking performance with his try when following up a break from long-time midfield partner Conrad Smith.

The tourists finally managed to gain some possession and sent fullback Mike Brown across with eight minutes to play and reserve wing Chris Ashton in the final play to close within one point in an encouraging finish.

It was the 18th win from 18 Tests for reserve first five-eighth Beauden Barrett, surpassing the previous world record for the perfect start to a career set by England prop Trevor Woodman 11 years ago.

England's tour resumes with a midweek game against the Crusaders in Christchurch on Tuesday.


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