Ben Smith: English side prove they're a force

14:11, Jun 07 2014
Conrad Smith
An elated Conrad Smith after diving over for the match-winning try in the 78th minute.
All Blacks
All Blacks Conrad Smith, TJ Perenara and Jerome Kaino appeal to the referee to blow the final whistle.
Cory Jane
Cory Jane (right) chips ahead under pressure from Marland Yarde.
Brodie Retallick
England's Joe Launchbury (right) and All Black Brodie Retallick attempt to coral a kick-off.
Brodie Retallick
All Blacks lock Brodie Retallick on the charge in the second half.
Israel Dagg
Fullback Israel Dagg evades one England tackle as he runs the ball back.
Israel Dagg
Israel Dagg competes with Manu Tuilagi for the ball over the All Blacks try-line. Tuilagi won the race.
Aaron Cruden
Aaron Cruden, who accounted for 15 All Blacks points, lines up a penalty kick.
Mike Brown
England's Mike Brown knocks Richie McCaw to the ground.
Richie McCaw
All Blacks captain Richie McCaw gets a hug from Keven Mealamu after the final whistle.
Freddie Burns
England No 10 Freddie Burns gets a clearing kick away under pressure from Jerome Kaino.
Ben Smith
All Blacks wing Ben Smith tries to kick out of an English tackle.

All Blacks wing Ben Smith believes England proved tonight they cannot be underestimated.

Despite missing a host of first choice players, the visitors rattled the All Blacks to show they will be a force over the three-test series, which now moves to Dunedin.

"Yeah I think they did [prove a point]," Smith said. "They're a confident team and they like to back themselves.

Ben Smith
MID-AIR JUGGLING: Ben Smith contests a high ball with England's Jonny May.

"England are a quality nation and they showed it's going to be a tough couple of games coming up.

"You've always got to give every team respect and England definitely deserve that respect. The last couple of times we've played them it's come down to a couple of points.

"They were impressive all around the park. It was a helluva test match."

Advertisement

Smith endured a frustrating evening with limited chances and numerous handling errors halting any attacking continuity.  

"That was because England put us under a lot of pressure at times. Full credit to them."

The All Blacks did, however, display enough composure to lay on a try for Conrad Smith in the 78th minute to seal a victory which preserved their 20-year unbeaten record at Eden Park and 15-match winning streak.

"We'll take a lot out of it and see where we can improve."

English coach Stuart Lancaster admitted his side missed a chance to beat the All Blacks for only the third time in New Zealand.  

"At 15-all it's all about how you manage territory and how you close out the game. In tight games it's sometimes a dropped goal that wins it," he said. "We definitely need to win the next test. The game next week is huge for us. We want to tie the series and go to a decider in Hamilton.

"The overriding emotion is frustration. We got to bottle that and turn it into something positive next week.

"I'm incredibly proud of the effort with a number of players sitting in the stands. It was very pleasing on the back of limited preparation time. There are going to be changes. They will definitely improve but we will as well. We'll take a lot from this game."

Stuff