All Blacks loss a sour way to end the season

LIAM NAPIER AT TWICKENHAM
Last updated 05:47 02/12/2012

Related Links

Big hitting Manu Tuilagi lining up All Blacks Just one task left for 2012 All Blacks All Blacks brand has never been stronger All Blacks suffer shock loss to England All Blacks vs England

Relevant offers

All Blacks

Concussion set to sideline Crusaders No 8 Kieran Read for Hurricanes encounter All Blacks Julian Savea and Brodie Retallick set to re-sign with NZ Rugby for another four years Dan Carter ponders career for American audience Reason: Officials potentially biggest impediment to All Black glory New Zealand Rugby fights Brazil clothing company over use of fern Charles Piutau blocked from Blues next year to avoid dangerous precedent issue All Blacks bolters - ranking the top five contenders for Rugby World Cup spot Broadcast revenue windfall set to boost players and provincial unions' earnings NZ Rugby trying to stop Highlanders wing Waisake Naholo's move to France - reports Steve Hansen's top XV headaches: Right wing and who to pick at No 10

OPINION: What an upset. What a sour way to end the season.

Tomorrow's flight home just got longer for the All Blacks after a timid display ruined the European tour, tainted their season and handed Steve Hansen his first loss as head coach.

After this record 38-21 defeat, the All Blacks' first at Twickenham for a decade, there will be nagging frustration hanging over the summer holidays. 

The Christmas ham might taste a little off.

Maybe the fallout and claims of thuggery after Andrew Hore's incident last week got to Hansen's men. There was a distinct lack of physicality and aggression in the collisions. They were bullied at the breakdown.

Apart from a three-minute second-half burst, where Julian Savea and Kieran Read scored, and a late flurry, the All Blacks were on the back foot - make that pinned up against the wall by a raw and inexperienced English side. It was astonishing to watch.

This test resembled a third former turning the tables on the head prefect.

Stuart Lancaster's starting side boasted just 206 caps and had an average age of a tick over 24. They were up against an All Blacks team with 787 caps.

Some had labelled them the best ever after going 20 matches undefeated since last year's World Cup.

Steeled by close losses to the Wallabies and Springboks, youth and enthusiasm sparked the English. They did not fear this All Blacks team. Not one bit.

The youngest members of Lancaster's team led the charge. Hooker Tom Young's and his front-row were powerful. Centre Manu Tuilagi got the better of Conrad Smith, a feat very rarely achieved. And 21-year-old first-five Owen Farrell did not put a foot wrong, slotting 18 points.

As their collective confidence grew so, too, did the sweeping chorus of swing low sweet chariot.

At the end of a long season, this being their 14th test, the All Blacks seemed out on their feet.

The sickness which stuck down almost the entire squad during the last two weeks might have had an affect, but don't expect any excuses to flow from Hansen and Richie McCaw.

They simply weren't up to it today. They were caught on the hop, as it were.

Now they have plenty of time to ponder their one major blimp of 2012.

Make no mistake, the Poms won't let you forget this history making occasion.

And, as much as it pains to say, their effort today deserves some time in the sun.

Ad Feedback

- Stuff

Comments

Special offers
Opinion poll

Who was the best-performed All Blacks forward on the northern tour?

Dane Coles

Nathan Harris

Keven Mealamu

Wyatt Crockett

Charlie Faumuina

Ben Franks

Owen Franks

Joe Moody

Brodie Retallick

Luke Romano

Jeremy Thrush

Patrick Tuipulotu

Sam Whitelock

Sam Cane

Jerome Kaino

Richie McCaw

Liam Messam

Kieran Read

Vitor Vito

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content