2022 England vs New Zealand All Blacks

England Mounts Last-Minute Comeback To Draw With All Blacks

England Mounts Last-Minute Comeback To Draw With All Blacks

For the majority of the test against New Zealand, England appeared inaccurate and underprepared, struggling to match the intensity of the opposition.

Nov 20, 2022 by RugbyPass
Highlights: England Vs. New Zealand

It's hard to make sense of this current incarnation of England. 

For the majority of the test against New Zealand, England appeared inaccurate and underprepared, struggling to match the intensity of the opposition, while committing errors all across the pitch.

As a result, with less than 10 minutes remaining, the All Blacks had a healthy 19-point advantage. The dye looked set, and England fans were preparing for the worst. It was then that their team burst alight. 

For the final minutes of the match, the hosts simply were sublime, sealing a stunning comeback with an unlikely 25-25 draw.

New Zealand was, in truth, the better team for large portions of the contest, exhibiting attacking flair at the start of both halves, ripping apart the English defense. The tactics employed were well-executed, and cross-field kicks, in particular, were effective when utilized. That caused Jonny May and Jack Nowell all sorts of headaches in the air.

For 71 minutes, Eddie Jones had to watch as his side stuttered. Then, they roared to life in a thrilling climax.

"I thought New Zealand were superb in the first half," Jones said after the game. "They were aggressive, they won the ruck and when they had the opportunities, they were able to score. We hung in there a lot, and you always get the chance to attack. We had that at the end. We put in some of the things we have worked on - running straighter, attacking gaps, quicker support play - and it was fantastic."

England may have finished in style, but it was New Zealand that set the initial tempo, burrowing its way through a disjointed defense to mount an early lead. 

Dalton Papali'i nabbed the opener for the visitors, intercepting a pass by Jack van Poortvliet intended for Owen Farrell. The misjudged pass was the first of a few mistakes committed by the young Leicester Tigers scrum half. He injected much-needed speed at the breakdown but also struggled to maintain clean ball at the base of the ruck.

Highlights: England Vs. New Zealand

In the end, his was a day to forget, as Ben Youngs came on as a replacement early in the second half. 

Up until now Van Poortvliet's international career has passed without a blemish. Now that turbulence has hit, it falls on Jones to support the youngster and give him a chance to make amends.

With just 17 minutes on the clock, a hushed silence fell across Twickenham. Codie Taylor had bounced over minutes earlier, before Rieko Ioane thought he had scored one of his own under the stick, giving New Zealand an imposing 19-point advantage. Fortunately for England, the try was chalked off, Ioane being the man penalized for a neck roll in an earlier phase.

The moment was pivotal. 

The All Blacks explosive start was felled, and England, knowing it had gotten away with one, started to take hold of possession and territory. 

Had the try stood, an already frustrated home support would have begun to mutter, no doubt voicing enraged criticism at Jones, who continues to garner fan animosity.

The Australian maverick already was in deep water coming into the contest, with England suffering a shock loss to Argentina - its first Twickenham since 2006 - two weeks prior. Knowing a result against New Zealand was needed to silence the naysayers, Jones watched on as his side crumbled early.

This came after a packed Twickenham united in singing "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" during the All Blacks' iconic haka. The atmosphere was bubbling, but Jones' men fell flat.

The deflated feeling persisted into the second half, as Beauden Barrett launched a perfect dink to Caleb Clarke. After catching the ball, the winger spun round and unleashed Ioane who this time got his score.

Still, England remained dormant. Marcus Smith offered flashes of brilliance, while Owen Farrell - making his 100th England cap - tried to dictate play. Neither landed the necessary punch until everything clicked.

Smith made a beautiful break and galloped toward the line with 10 minutes remaining, only to be taken down a meter short. Will Stuart was on hand to pick up the pieces and crossed over to score.

Then, the floodgates opened. 

Substitute David Ribbans, making only his second test appearance, delivered an exquisite out-the-back offload to send England flying down the right flank, an attack from which, Freddie Steward soon scored.

The comeback was completed when Stuart battled over from close range to claim his second score, pulling England level, sparing their blushes. New Zealand was left baffled, and Jones was relieved.

Ioane was sensational and unfortunate not to be on a winning side. England's bench showed huge character in helping reroute the test, but as Smith kicked the ball out of play to call time on the action, Twickenham didn't know whether to cheer or sulk.

One thing is certain. Test matches between England and New Zealand continue to light up the rugby world.  

Written by Stefan Frost