Six-try England ease to victory
June 17, 2014
Anthony Watson leaves the defence gawping as he runs in England's fifth try
© Getty Images
England registered a first victory on their tour of New Zealand with Danny Cipriani pressing his claim against a weakened Crusaders for a place on the bench in Saturday's final Test.
Just hours after Owen Farrell had been ruled out of the climax to the series at Waikato Stadium due to knee ligament damage, Cipriani cleverly set-up the opening try for Joe Gray and completed three of four conversions as part of a 38-7 victory. Freddie Burns will resume as England's conductor against New Zealand after impressing in the first Test with Cipriani likely to deputise, unless head coach Stuart Lancaster opts against picking specialist cover.
Having conceded the series with Saturday's 28-27 defeat in Dunedin, England's midweek team answered Lancaster's call to lift spirits ahead of the final attempt of securing only a third away victory against the All Blacks.
Gray began the six-try rout at Christchurch's AMI Stadium with Ben Foden, Brad Barritt, Alex Goode, Anthony Watson and Chris Pennell also crossing in a resounding, if scrappy, victory. Captain Ed Slater was missing from the scoresheet but he placed himself in contention for the fourth and final available second-row spot in the 2015 World Cup squad with a towering display.
A weakened Crusaders were missing their current All Blacks with only four of the 23 having been capped by New Zealand in the past and their limitations were apparent. Equally evident, however, was the determination that enabled them to prevent a 26-7 half-time deficit from deteriorating into a heavy beating.
When Cipriani selflessly launched the points onslaught with only one minute on the clock, a cricket score beckoned. An explosive start opened gaps in midfield and the Sale playmaker slipped into space before supplying the scoring pass to Gray.
James Haskell takes a big hit from Jordan Taufua © Getty Images
Five minutes later England crossed for a second time with a moment of magic from Foden, whose feet were perfectly placed as he kept Goode's chip in play and touched down under the nose of outwitted wing Johnny McNicholl.
Aided by some loose kicking from the tourists, the Crusaders gained a foothold in the game with one thunderous hit by Jordan Taufua on James Haskell sending the muscular flanker hurtling backwards. Only a last-ditch tackle from Goode prevented McNicholl from crossing but moments later England's fragmenting defence parted to welcome Matt Todd over the whitewash. The try sobered England and they responded by attacking with greater intent, stretching the Crusaders until Foden was bundled into touch.
Having looked to put width on the ball, they reverted to a route one approach with Barritt bulldozing through two tackles and over the line.
England were woeful at the restarts, yet it barely knocked them off their stride as a fourth try was amassed when quick hands after a bullocking run from Slater saw Goode ghost in. Slater was having a magnificent game as he led the defensive effort against a lively start to the second half from the Crusaders.
England began to empty their bench and it took until the 60th minute for the next try to arrive with full-back Pennell putting Watson into space. There was still work to do but Watson's footwork and pace enabled him to round two defenders and sprint home.
The Crusaders enjoyed their best spell of the match in the final quarter with a double tackle from Foden and Pennell stopping Taufua in the left corner.
A 17,500 sell-out crowd willed the Crusaders on for a final try, but instead it came from England as Pennell collected Barritt's injury-time chip and dived over.
Brad Barritt piles over for England's third try © Getty Images
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Communication error please reload the page.
Nico Rosberg admitted he only had himself to blame after failing front row of the grid for the first time in 13 races in a wet qualifying session in Malaysia
Chelsea forward Eden Hazard believes playing in the Premier League has made him a better player
New South Wales Waratahs have overcome a night of dreadful handling to defeat a stubborn Blues outfit by 12 points in Sydney
Lewis Hamilton just took pole position ahead of Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel by 0.074s at the Malaysian Grand Prix as rain played a factor in a tense qualifying session in Sepang
Fernando Alonso is confident McLaren will not be getting knocked out of Q1 for long this season despite his first qualifying session with McLaren leaving him 18th on the grid at the Malaysian Grand Prix
Mudslinging and an agreement on something that will never happen, it's all in a day's work for a Formula One boss, as Maurice Hamilton explains...
Who has driven in the most GPs before taking pole position?
Fallout continues from the NSW-Brumbies derby, with one Tahs forward - not Potgieter - surprised by other unsavoury comments during the game, Greg Growden reports
Greg Growden previews Super Rugby round 7. We've also got key stats, team news and all the line-ups to inform your ESPN Footytips Super Rugby picks
Will Mercedes dominate again? Can anybody catch up with the help of a rainstorm? And will the Red Bull/Renault relationship tear itself apart? All those questions and more will be answered at this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix
Kevin De Bruyne would consider a move back to Chelsea despite barely featuring in his time at Stamford Bridge, sources told ESPN
Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge fears an extended spell out of action after tearing a hip muscle, England manager Roy Hodgson has revealed
Manchester United are determined to keep Angel Di Maria at Old Trafford, club sources have told ESPN, despite recent uncertainty over his future
Barcelona forward Luis Suarez has said he was treated "worse than if I were a hooligan" when FIFA banned him for biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup
Andy Murray has expressed fears that his game will regress without full-time coaching in a candid exchange with a fellow Twitter user as he prepares to add former world No.4 Jonas Bjorkman to his coaching team
Everton defender Phil Jagielka is to have surgery on a badly gashed ankle, manager David Moyes has confirmed
Unbeaten heavyweight Dillian Whyte, 28, (14-0, 11 KOs) tells ESPN where his rivalry with Anthony Joshua stems from and outlines the plan for his career this year after returning from a doping ban in November
Who has driven in the most GPs before taking pole position?
Some of the best fighters to ever glove up have plied their trade in the Octagon - now ESPN list the 10 best who have fought under the UFC banner
Who was the first Briton to win the British Grand Prix?