Will Stuart salvaged England’s poor first half performance by scoring two tries in the final ten minutes of the much-anticipated match against New Zealand in the rugby union Autumn Internationals, ending in a 25 point draw at Twickenham on Saturday night.
After a dominant performance by the All Blacks in the first half, which set the half time score at 3-17, England returned to the pitch with ferocity.
England’s tenacity paid off after they salvaged a potentially crippling loss to the All Blacks by scoring three tries in the last ten minutes of the game, two of which were perfectly converted by Marcus Smith.
The game got off to a sloppy start for England as they conceded penalties and interceptions. The All Blacks took advantage of England’s incoordination and Dalton Papali’i found a gap in the England defence and scored a try that was comfortably converted by Jordie Barrett, putting the Kiwis seven points up by the 3rd minute.
Just five minutes later, a controversial scrum penalty was awarded to the All Blacks, which resulted in a New Zealand lineout and maul which was carried over the England try line by Codie Taylor. With another clean conversation from Jordie Barrett, the All Blacks were up 0-14 after just ten minutes.
Just before the first half whistle blew, both sides kicked for posts and scored three points each from conceded penalties, taking the score to 3-17, leaving the stands of Twickenham crestfallen after England’s poor first half performance.
England returned to the pitch with ferocity after half time. Just seconds back, Marcus Smith cleared the posts gaining England another three points. Beauden Barrett retaliated with a drop goal, also increasing the Kiwis’s score by three points, before he was set to the sin bin for not releasing.
With the score at 6-25 and only ten minutes left on the clock, England fans thought all hope was lost.
However, England, now with some fresh legs from the substitutes bench, took advantage of the player imbalance. After much deliberation over the TMO as to whether contact was made, Will Stuart was awarded his first try for England.
Just two minutes later, Freddie Steward scored another for England, converted perfectly by Marcus Smith.
With the score at 18-25, and only seven minutes left, Will Stuart returned with yet another clean try for England, easily converted again by Marcus Smith to equalise the score to 25-25.
The clock hit red and Smith kicked the ball into touch to end the game. England were ecstatic at their second half performance and against-all-odds comeback.