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All Blacks See Off Spirited England

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

By Mark Geenty of NZPA

London, Nov 21 NZPA - The All Blacks repelled a much-improved England 19-6 in a dour rugby test at Twickenham as they kept their opponents tryless for a seventh consecutive northern hemisphere international.

A Jimmy Cowan try midway through the second half gave the All Blacks the crucial advantage against a spirited home side who were well in the game but were let down by basic handling errors or poor options.

All Blacks pivot Dan Carter missed two of his seven attempts at goal but his 14-point haul pushed him past Andrew Mehrtens' test pointscoring record of 967.

His desperate tackle on try-bound England replacement Tom Croft in the 73rd minute also saved the All Blacks from a tense finish as they defended their line desperately.

It was another frustrating tour performance from the tourists who made too many errors and struggled to string attacks together, but the defence was again a highlight.

Captain Richie McCaw was named man of the match after a typical performance where he caused havoc at the breakdown and marshalled the watertight defensive effort.

Winger Sitiveni Sivivatu was a constant menace with ball in hand but, again, the All Blacks' attack was stifled as they made it just three tries from their three most recent tests.

Carter's opposite Jonny Wilkinson kicked his only two penalty attempts but his general play was disappointing behind a forward pack who matched the All Blacks.

A week after they were booed off Twickenham after a dire performance against Argentina, England showed they meant business from the start.

They lost recalled flanker Joe Worsley to injury in the second minute but that didn't take the sting out of their physical defence.

The All Blacks absorbed the early pressure but Carter, strangely, couldn't punish Lewis Moody for offside when he pushed his first penalty attempt wide from in front.

England took the early lead when McCaw was ruled offside at a ruck and Wilkinson goaled.

In a half a few tryscoring chances, the All Blacks looked to have scored first through fullback Mils Muliaina -- after a neat Carter pass -- but the television match official correctly ruled his foot was in touch.

Ill discipline cost both sides as the test became niggly; a Tim Payne punch on Andrew Hore handed Carter his first goal and the record.

Then Jimmy Cowan was pinged for shoving Steve Borthwick and Wilkinson made it 6-3.

Carter levelled it up again in the 29th minute as referee Jonathan Kaplan began to lose patience with England's infringing at the breakdown.

But he missed another simple attempt soon afterwards as England went to the break with a spring in their steps at 6-6.

Carter gave the All Blacks their first lead with his third goal in the 48th minute, as the penalties mounted in the tourists' favour.

The England defence finally cracked in the 57th minute as the All Blacks forwards drove up the middle, they went blindside and slick hands from Sivivatu and McCaw put Cowan over.

Carter's sideline conversion made it 16-6.

England roared back, but the McCaw-led defensive line repelled waves of attack.

When Wilkinson pushed a dropped goal wide with a big lineup outside him it was a moral victory for the All Blacks who never relinquished control from then on.

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