First time at Twickenham for an international match for several years for me and an utterly magnificent occasion. As I said to my mate with 20 minute to go: "Is it always like this?"
The tendency of most English fans and reporters after beating a team like the All Blacks is to go over the top somewhat, and lo and behold the national press have not disappointed in this respect. It would be churlish, however, not to give the England players due credit. In terms of intensity and effort they were magnificent to a man. Yes, there was a frustrating tendency, especially in the first half, to kick too long and too often - but the energy and aggression in the tackle and the ruck knocked the All Blacks back on their heels time after time and England were well worth their 12-0 halftime lead.
What was most encouraging, however, was England's reaction to the All Black mini-comeback. At 15-14 it really did look as if New Zealand would kick on to win but it was the men in white who came roaring back with 3 tries which visibly knocked the stuffing out of their opponents and had the stadium totally rocking.
As for New Zealand, while I'm sure that last week's novovirus can't have helped, it did look to be more a case of them just not being prepared for the ferocity of the English onslaught. All unbeaten runs have to end but this one will hurt, I'm sure, and no doubt we'll get payback next time out.
A few whinges not in keeping with the general tone of this post:
- to those who unsportingly jeered Dan Carter when he was lining up kicks at goal - idiots!
- to those who felt the need to get up and go to the loo or get a beer in the middle of a passage of play and then stand there blocking everyone's view - idiots!
- to Chris Ashton - will you please can that stupid dive and grow up - idiot!
Oh, and one more thing on a far more positive note. Freddie Burns looks to be one heck of a player - to the manor born.