England 15-16 New Zealand: Eddie Jones’s side suffer narrow defeat

England 15-16 New Zealand: Eddie Jones’s side suffer narrow defeat by No 1 side in world after a 15-point lead and Sam Underhill’s late try is ruled out

  • Home side got off to perfect start on Saturday afternoon as Chris Ashton went over within first few minutes
  • Dylan Hartley scored England’s second try of the match in the first half and Owen Farrell converted with ease
  • All Blacks’ Damian McKenzie scored their first try as visitors reduced deficit to five points heading into break
  • New Zealand moved to within two points of England early in second half through a Beauden Barrett drop goal
  • Barrett put the All Blacks ahead for the first time in the Test match with a penalty with 20 minutes remaining 
  • Sam Underhill scored a try late on for England but it was ruled out after Courtney Lawes was judged offside

Eddie Jones told his players to write their own Hollywood movie but they came up with a classic heartbreak story.

England were inches away from a famous victory at Twickenham.

Sam Underhill thought he had scored the winning try after 76 minutes, but referee Jerome Garces interrupted the joyous celebrations to rule out the match-winning score. 

Sam Underhill scored a late try and looked to have won the game for England but the try was ruled out by the officials

Sam Underhill scored a late try and looked to have won the game for England but the try was ruled out by the officials

Courtney Lawes was judged offside in the build-up to Underhill’s try in the second half as the officials referred to the TMO

New Zealand’s Beauden Barrett scores a drop goal early in the second to move the All Blacks to within two points of England

In the end, the result went to script. Make that 84 wins in 94 Tests for the All Blacks under Steve Hansen, whose side remain top of the tree.

The Kiwis are still No 1, even though they trailed for an hour, and Jones’s players will clutch at hope in defeat.

‘Roll up for the execution!’ heckled Kiwi fans at ticket touts outside Twickenham station before kick-off.

England's Chris Ashton scores the opening try of the autumn international match against New Zealand on Saturday afternoon

England’s Chris Ashton scores the opening try of the autumn international match against New Zealand on Saturday afternoon

Ashton, who made his first start in four years for England, went over within the first few minutes after pass from Ben Youngs

England's Mark Wilson (left), England's George Kruis (second left) celebrate as Ashton scores a try against New Zealand

England’s Mark Wilson (left), England’s George Kruis (second left) celebrate as Ashton scores a try against New Zealand

Ashton celebrates scoring England's first try of the match in the opening five minutes with his team-mates at Twickenham

Ashton celebrates scoring England’s first try of the match in the opening five minutes with his team-mates at Twickenham

The belief and expectation of the English public has evaporated in recent months, but the players felt differently.

Weather conditions were similar to the famous night in Wellington last year, when the Lions beat the All Blacks. Torrential rain fell on the haka… Fate?

The sound of Swing Low drowned out the Kiwi war dance and, once finished, the England players got into a huddle and made their opponents wait for kick-off.

They did things on their terms and it remained that way for an hour.

England's fly-half Owen Farrell (second left) is successful with this drop-goal attempt during the first half of the Test match

England’s fly-half Owen Farrell (second left) is successful with this drop-goal attempt during the first half of the Test match

 England players celebrate after Dylan Hartley scored their second try of the autumn international clash against the All Blacks

 England players celebrate after Dylan Hartley scored their second try of the autumn international clash against the All Blacks

Hartley (hidden) went over in the first half of the match to extend England's lead over New Zealand in the autumn international

Hartley (hidden) went over in the first half of the match to extend England’s lead over New Zealand in the autumn international

England's Farrell successfully kicks a conversion to put England 15-0 up in the first half of the clash on Saturday afternoon

England’s Farrell successfully kicks a conversion to put England 15-0 up in the first half of the clash on Saturday afternoon

Owen Farrell kicked off and landed the ball on Brodie Retallick. Jonny May gave chase and the Kiwis knocked the ball on in the very first play.

‘Get in their faces,’ said the handful of Englishmen who have been there and done it.

England scrummed, with Ben Te’o, Kyle Sinckler, Maro Itoje and Sam Underhill carrying hard to suck in the black defenders.

Chris Ashton sniffed space on the right wing and, with one minute 54 seconds on the clock, he took Ben Youngs’ long pass to slide over for the opening try.

Twickenham was stunned.

New Zealand's Damian McKenzie scores their first try of the match towards the end of the first half to reduce the deficit

New Zealand’s Damian McKenzie scores their first try of the match towards the end of the first half to reduce the deficit

McKenzie celebrates scoring the All Blacks' first try in the first 40 minutes with his team-mates at Twickenham on Saturday

McKenzie celebrates scoring the All Blacks’ first try in the first 40 minutes with his team-mates at Twickenham on Saturday

‘Get to Shieldsy,’ shouted the Kiwi defenders as they tried to rattle England’s Kiwi flanker Brad Shields early on.

England, however, were not unnerved.

Rain continued to fall and England played the conditions. Te’o put the ball up the jumper and England’s play-makers peppered Damian McKenzie with difficult kicks.

Farrell missed his first conversion but, after 10 minutes, he took his side eight points ahead with a drop goal. 

The All Blacks perform the haka prior to the clash against Eddie Jones’s England at Twickenham on Saturday afternoon

Sam Whitelock knocked on at a lineout under pressure from Shields and England turned their territory into points.

Suddenly, the All Blacks looked like mortals.

Ardie Savea was stripped in the tackle, Beauden Barrett was caught offside and Aaron Smith kicked the ball straight into touch.

Underhill tackled like a man possessed, with blood streaming down his right cheek, and the scoreboard kept ticking in England’s favour.

Maro Itoje claimed a lineout. The maul crabbed sideways but gathered momentum. England’s backs piled in and Dylan Hartley touched down to make the score 15-0.

Elliot Daly of England is tackled by Karl Tu'inukuafe of New Zealand during the tight Test match at Twickenham on Saturday

Elliot Daly of England is tackled by Karl Tu’inukuafe of New Zealand during the tight Test match at Twickenham on Saturday

Twickenham had not seen such intensity since the 2015 World Cup. England had never seen anything like it under Eddie Jones.

Sonny Bill Williams left the field through injury, which seemed like another good omen, but his replacement Ryan Crotty made an instant impact.

Determined to score before half-time, New Zealand launched a 23-phase attack and won a penalty in front of the posts.

Their decision to scrum rather than take three points whiffed of arrogance, but Crotty ran a hard line, before McKenzie cut a line off Barrett’s inside shoulder to score the first Kiwi try. 

New Zealand's McKenzie in action with England's Sam Underhill during the autumn international clash at Twickenham

New Zealand’s McKenzie in action with England’s Sam Underhill during the autumn international clash at Twickenham

Barrett kicked another penalty before half-time and suddenly, under grey skies, the complexion changed.

Jamie George replaced Hartley at half-time but the Kiwis came out flying. Like a fly in a bottle, McKenzie broke the line early on but Savea knocked on with the try line in sight.

Rieko Ioane failed to gather a pass on his wing but, following Farrell’s earlier lead, Barrett kicked his first drop goal in 72 Tests. 

England’s killer edge of the first half deserted them. In a bold move, Farrell turned down a shot at goal for a lineout, but Sinckler knocked on.

Suddenly England lost five lineouts on the head and momentum swung around the hour mark. 

New Zealand's Brodie Retallick wins the line out ball during the tight Test match which the All Blacks won 16-15 on Saturday

New Zealand’s Brodie Retallick wins the line out ball during the tight Test match which the All Blacks won 16-15 on Saturday

Even the most basic statisticians had worked out that New Zealand have a knack of winning games in the final quarter.

Coming into this game, they had an aggregate score of 141-42 in the final quarter of games in 2018. And lo behold, in the 60th minute, Barrett kicked his side ahead for the first time in the match.

Jones threw on his own ‘finishers’, but George’s lineout throwing cost his side dearly. England fluffed their lines consistently, until Underhill’s late break.

The flanker turned Barrett inside out, before diving over in the corner, but Garces deemed that Courtney Lawes was offside when he charged the ball down.

England attacked again, but Henry Slade knocked on in the final play. And with that, came the editor’s cut.

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