Dunedin, New Zealand - The All Blacks' ability to seize control when the chips are down stunned England in the second Test in Dunedin on Saturday and coach Steve Hansen warned it was just a taste of things to come.
A third quarter rampage, in which the All Blacks scored three tries, set up a 28-27 victory with the one-point margin flattering England.
The All Blacks turned a 6-10 deficit at half-time into a 28-13 lead before England scored two late tries to close the gap but victory was beyond them.
England coach Stuart Lancaster rated the All Blacks' onslaught immediately after half-time as “exceptional” but Hansen said they were still below their best.
“We played better (than the first half), there's no doubt about that, but I don't think we played as good as we possibly can,” he said, singling out the forwards for special praise.
“They stepped up to the mark, particlarly the tight five. They scrumed well, the line-out was good and apart from the first two line-out drives that England had I think we managed to contain them.”
After scraping a narrow 20-15 victory in the first Test and being outplayed for most of the first half in the second, All Blacks captain Richie McCaw felt the tide start to turn just before half-time.
“So the key was after half-time to keep that going and a couple of quick tries put the momentum firmly with us and made them make a lot of tackles,” he said.
“Once we started to make them tackle, it's like any team that has to tackle a lot you start go go down on your haunches gasping for a bit of air.”
Apart from wrapping up the three-Test series with a game to spare, Hansen said the All Blacks were also getting valuable information about England a year out from the next World Cup.
“From a World Cup point of view we've introduced a couple of new players and we're playing one of the best sides in the world and managing to come out on the right side. It's a positive,” he said.
“But I guess the biggest thing about this series is we're learning a lot about ourselves and along with that we're learning a bit about England so that information will be good going forward.” - Sapa-AFP