- Centre says England should have won in Dunedin
- “We're still learning, but now it's about results” – Twelvetrees
A bitterly disappointed Billy Twelvetrees believes England created enough opportunities to beat New Zealand in Dunedin, but says the All Blacks’ superior ability to covert pressure into points was critical in his team’s 28-27 defeat.
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Stuart Lancaster’s charges began the second Test with verve and accuracy at Forsyth Barr Stadium, storming into a 10-0 lead on the back of a powerful finish from Harlequins wing Marland Yarde.
However, despite conceding six line-breaks in the opening 40 minutes, New Zealand crucially stayed in touch at just down 10-6 before regrouping to devastating effect – three tries in 20 minutes from Julian Savea, Ma’a Nonu and the phenomenal Ben Smith putting the result beyond doubt.
England had to be satisfied with consolation scores from Mike Brown and Chris Ashton, leaving Twelvetrees to reflect on a third successive loss to the world champions.
“We left a few chances out there and probably left a result out there as well,” said the Gloucester Rugby centre, who himself scythed through the New Zealand defence early on following some very slick footwork.
“Coming in at half-time with a lead we felt confident, but in the first 10-15 minutes of the second half we didn’t manage the game that well. They got on top, forced a few too many errors out of us and capitalised.
“A world-class team like the All Blacks will capitalise. After finishing a point behind we can take the positives – we scored 27 points against them – and we’ll lick our wounds and come back strong next week.”
Twelvetrees insisted that England would head to Hamilton for the third Test with “huge confidence”, especially given how precise their attacking patterns looked in the first quarter.
Photo: Getty Images
And, highlighting the clinical manner in which the All Blacks finished their chances, he also said there was plenty to learn from how the hosts preyed on mistakes.
“We felt confident in what we were doing. At half-time we wanted more of the same – to keep playing at tempo and stressing them on the gainline.
“We managed the middle third well in the first half but not so much in the second. They’re a very powerful team and we weren’t able to slow the ball down and get off the line the way we wanted to. They scored a few quick tries and ultimately that proved to be very costly.
“They are so good on that transition between defence and attack. We’ve got to get better at that. This group is still learning, but we’ve got to start getting results now.”