England’s emphatic victory over New Zealand at the weekend was a major sporting achievement that even the most optimistic Rugby Union fan could not have predicted. The Twickenham crowd were treated to an outstanding display with the home team dominating both up front and behind. Stuart Lancaster can take great pride in honing a side that never looked like losing once play had begun, and that simply tore apart a strangely lacklustre All Blacks team that struggled throughout. The New Zealand side duly came to the end of a 20 game unbeaten run.
England drove to an early lead in the second half thanks to the inspirational play of Owen Farrell, a man who can be credited with waking the team up and bringing them into the game. 15-14 was the score with half an hour to go, and even with England playing well onlookers could be forgiven for remaining confident that the mighty All Blacks would change gear and cruise ahead to victory. It didn’t happen; instead, England simply out-performed the New Zealand side in a manner that was both refreshing and exciting to witness, and came home 38-21 – a resounding victory in every way.
Farrell to the Fore
Farrell’s kicking and his one to one play with Dan Carter, a man expected to overshadow him, was the key to a great game, and English rugby can now stand proud once more. Narrow defeats against Australia and South Africa in recent weeks had not been promising, but this time the team seemed to simply get on with it and make it happen. With the 2015 World Cup to be held in England this was a timely victory, and one that means the host nation can be considered genuine contenders if such form is to continue.