New Zealand beats England 16-15 in 1st test of the Scott Robertson era – The Associated Press

Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.
England’s Marcus Smith, left, looks to tackle New Zealand’s Stephen Perofeta during their rugby union test match in Dunedin, New Zealand, Saturday July 6, 2024. (Andrew Cornaga/Photosport via AP)
New Zealand’s Ardie Savea, right, scores a try against England during their rugby union test match in Dunedin, New Zealand, Saturday July 6, 2024. (Steve McArthur/Photosport via AP)
England’s Alex Mitchell of England center, kicks the ball down field against New Zealand during their rugby union test match in Dunedin, New Zealand, Saturday July 6, 2024. (Andrew Cornaga/Photosport via AP)
England’s Chandler Cunningham-South, left, and New Zealand’s Samipeni Finau compete for a line out ball during their rugby union test match in Dunedin, New Zealand, Saturday July 6, 2024. (Andrew Cornaga/Photosport via AP)
England’s Chandler Cunningham-South, left, and New Zealand’s Samipeni Finau compete for a line out ball during their rugby union test match in Dunedin, New Zealand, Saturday July 6, 2024. (Andrew Cornaga/Photosport via AP)
Sevu Reece of New Zealand, left, scores a try against England during their rugby union test match in Dunedin, New Zealand, Saturday July 6, 2024. (Andrew Cornaga/Photosport via AP)
New Zealand’s Patrick Tuipulotu, center, is tackled by England’s Immanuel Feyi-Waboso during their rugby union test match in Dunedin, New Zealand, Saturday July 6, 2024. (Andrew Cornaga/Photosport via AP)
England’s Marcus Smith, right, is tackled by New Zealand’s Sevu Reece during their rugby union test match in Dunedin, New Zealand, Saturday July 6, 2024. (Andrew Cornaga/Photosport via AP)
New Zealand’s Codie Taylor, second right, is tackled by England defenders during their rugby union test match in Dunedin, New Zealand, Saturday July 6, 2024. (Andrew Cornaga/Photosport via AP)
England’s Ben Earl tackles New Zealand captain Scott Barrett, left, during their rugby union test match in Dunedin, New Zealand, Saturday July 6, 2024. (Andrew Cornaga/Photosport via AP)
England’s players lock arms as New Zealand perform the haka ahead of their rugby union test match in Dunedin, New Zealand, Saturday July 6, 2024. (Steve McArthur/Photosport via AP)
England’s George Martin attempts to block a kick from New Zealand’s Damian McKenzie during their rugby union test match in Dunedin, New Zealand, Saturday July 6, 2024. (Andrew Cornaga/Photosport via AP)
England’s Marcus Smith, left, looks to tackle New Zealand’s Stephen Perofeta during their rugby union test match in Dunedin, New Zealand, Saturday July 6, 2024. (Andrew Cornaga/Photosport via AP)
England’s Marcus Smith, left, looks to tackle New Zealand’s Stephen Perofeta during their rugby union test match in Dunedin, New Zealand, Saturday July 6, 2024. (Andrew Cornaga/Photosport via AP)
New Zealand’s Ardie Savea, right, scores a try against England during their rugby union test match in Dunedin, New Zealand, Saturday July 6, 2024. (Steve McArthur/Photosport via AP)
New Zealand’s Ardie Savea, right, scores a try against England during their rugby union test match in Dunedin, New Zealand, Saturday July 6, 2024. (Steve McArthur/Photosport via AP)
England’s Alex Mitchell of England center, kicks the ball down field against New Zealand during their rugby union test match in Dunedin, New Zealand, Saturday July 6, 2024. (Andrew Cornaga/Photosport via AP)
England’s Alex Mitchell of England center, kicks the ball down field against New Zealand during their rugby union test match in Dunedin, New Zealand, Saturday July 6, 2024. (Andrew Cornaga/Photosport via AP)
England’s Chandler Cunningham-South, left, and New Zealand’s Samipeni Finau compete for a line out ball during their rugby union test match in Dunedin, New Zealand, Saturday July 6, 2024. (Andrew Cornaga/Photosport via AP)
England’s Chandler Cunningham-South, left, and New Zealand’s Samipeni Finau compete for a line out ball during their rugby union test match in Dunedin, New Zealand, Saturday July 6, 2024. (Andrew Cornaga/Photosport via AP)
England’s Chandler Cunningham-South, left, and New Zealand’s Samipeni Finau compete for a line out ball during their rugby union test match in Dunedin, New Zealand, Saturday July 6, 2024. (Andrew Cornaga/Photosport via AP)
England’s Chandler Cunningham-South, left, and New Zealand’s Samipeni Finau compete for a line out ball during their rugby union test match in Dunedin, New Zealand, Saturday July 6, 2024. (Andrew Cornaga/Photosport via AP)
Sevu Reece of New Zealand, left, scores a try against England during their rugby union test match in Dunedin, New Zealand, Saturday July 6, 2024. (Andrew Cornaga/Photosport via AP)
Sevu Reece of New Zealand, left, scores a try against England during their rugby union test match in Dunedin, New Zealand, Saturday July 6, 2024. (Andrew Cornaga/Photosport via AP)
New Zealand’s Patrick Tuipulotu, center, is tackled by England’s Immanuel Feyi-Waboso during their rugby union test match in Dunedin, New Zealand, Saturday July 6, 2024. (Andrew Cornaga/Photosport via AP)
New Zealand’s Patrick Tuipulotu, center, is tackled by England’s Immanuel Feyi-Waboso during their rugby union test match in Dunedin, New Zealand, Saturday July 6, 2024. (Andrew Cornaga/Photosport via AP)
England’s Marcus Smith, right, is tackled by New Zealand’s Sevu Reece during their rugby union test match in Dunedin, New Zealand, Saturday July 6, 2024. (Andrew Cornaga/Photosport via AP)
England’s Marcus Smith, right, is tackled by New Zealand’s Sevu Reece during their rugby union test match in Dunedin, New Zealand, Saturday July 6, 2024. (Andrew Cornaga/Photosport via AP)
New Zealand’s Codie Taylor, second right, is tackled by England defenders during their rugby union test match in Dunedin, New Zealand, Saturday July 6, 2024. (Andrew Cornaga/Photosport via AP)
New Zealand’s Codie Taylor, second right, is tackled by England defenders during their rugby union test match in Dunedin, New Zealand, Saturday July 6, 2024. (Andrew Cornaga/Photosport via AP)
England’s Ben Earl tackles New Zealand captain Scott Barrett, left, during their rugby union test match in Dunedin, New Zealand, Saturday July 6, 2024. (Andrew Cornaga/Photosport via AP)
England’s Ben Earl tackles New Zealand captain Scott Barrett, left, during their rugby union test match in Dunedin, New Zealand, Saturday July 6, 2024. (Andrew Cornaga/Photosport via AP)
England’s players lock arms as New Zealand perform the haka ahead of their rugby union test match in Dunedin, New Zealand, Saturday July 6, 2024. (Steve McArthur/Photosport via AP)
England’s players lock arms as New Zealand perform the haka ahead of their rugby union test match in Dunedin, New Zealand, Saturday July 6, 2024. (Steve McArthur/Photosport via AP)
England’s George Martin attempts to block a kick from New Zealand’s Damian McKenzie during their rugby union test match in Dunedin, New Zealand, Saturday July 6, 2024. (Andrew Cornaga/Photosport via AP)
England’s George Martin attempts to block a kick from New Zealand’s Damian McKenzie during their rugby union test match in Dunedin, New Zealand, Saturday July 6, 2024. (Andrew Cornaga/Photosport via AP)
DUNEDIN, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand clung on to a one-point lead for 15 minutes and beat England 16-15 in a gripping first test Saturday to make a winning start to a new era under head coach Scott Robertson.
Flyhalf Damian McKenzie kicked the second of two penalties in the 65th minute to edge New Zealand ahead after the teams had been locked at 10-10 at halftime. England earlier had gone ahead with a try to winger Immanuel Feyi-Waboso.
A third penalty attempt by McKenzie with two minutes to go was timed out by the referee. England had the last possession of the match but New Zealand forced a turnover.
For most of the match a physical England team stretched New Zealand to its limits and exposed the All Blacks’ frailty against fast and flat defense. They won the territorial battle but not the breakdown contest that was pivotal.
All Blacks captain Scott Barrett called the match a “tough arm wrestle” and said New Zealand was fortunate to pin England back in the late stages of the second half.
“It’s great to see how quickly the boys have come together under a new coaching system,” Barrett said. “England shifted us around with little kicks in behind. They just squeezed us at times, made us try to play out of our own half and we were a bit slow to adapt.”
Both teams scored two tries. New Zealand’s came in the first half through winger Sevu Reece and backrower Ardie Savea. England scored through lock Maro Itoje in the first half and Feyi-Waboso in the second to take a 15-10 lead.

“I feel a huge amount of pride in our boys, the way we fought and scrapped in that first half in particular,” England captain Jamie George said. “A lot of other England teams might have gone away at that stage.”
England last beat the All Blacks in New Zealand in 2003.
In the early stages England had territory, New Zealand possession. England penned New Zealand in its own half with accurate kicks from Alex Mitchell and Marcus Smith and with fast, flat defense.
New Zealand handled often but inside its own territory.
In the 10th minute the first test of the set piece contest came with an England scrum. The England front row appeared to pull back, the New Zealand front row went down as one and England won the penalty. Smith’s kick from around 40 meters on the right curled outside the left-hand upright.
The next scrum was a different story. The All Blacks got their timing right and rolled over the England scrum to win the first of two scrum penalties in the first half. The subsequent kick took New Zealand deep into England territory for the first time and the All Blacks began to gather some momentum.
New Zealand moved the ball quickly away from breakdowns where England hoped to engage them for longer.
In the 16th minute, New Zealand held the ball through 15 phases, taking into contact and winning it back. Finally, with time and vision, kicked wide to the right flank for Reece who caught the ball on the run and dived over in the corner. Reece was outstanding in his first test in two years.
England made a tactical switch after that scrum setback, replacing the veteran loosehead Joe Marler with the Harlequins youngster Fin Baxter on debut.
Throughout the first half, New Zealand made almost three times as many tackles as England but not many inside its own 22. England ventured into the 22 with a kick which McKenzie had to take into touch 5 meters out. Chandler Cunningham-South peeled around the back of the lineout and when he was brought down, Itoje picked up the ball and dived over. England led 7-5 in the 21st minute.
Three minutes later New Zealand again trounced an England scrum and with penalty advantage moved the ball along the line where fullback Stephen Perofeta skipped through Ben Earl’s tackle and fed Ardie Savea who scored his 25th All Blacks try.
McKenzie again missed the conversion and New Zealand led 10-7 until close to halftime when a Smith penalty brought the teams level.
England began the second half with momentum. Marcus Smith missed a penalty from close range before England drove the All Blacks back under their own posts with hard-running. When the New Zealand defense had been drawn, England suddenly sent the ball wide to Feyi-Wabaso who scored untouched on the left. England led 15-10.
The match became a territorial contest shaped by kicking but New Zealand entered England’s half and scored from penalties to McKenzie to wrest back the lead at 16-15.
Dan Cole came off the bench for his 115th cap to surpass Justin Leonard as England’s most-capped forward.
AP rugby: https://apnews.com/hub/rugby
Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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