If England pass the Six Nations test then World Cup dreams become real
23:47 GMT, 2 December 2012
England will gain great self-belief from this fantastic victory, yet they must also realise the dangers of going into the Six Nations as ‘top dog’ — the one all the other teams will be gunning for.
If England can emerge champions from a very important tournament in their development they really will be gaining the momentum towards challenging for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
When the 2003 World Cup-winning gang last beat New Zealand the team was at its zenith. We knew that summer, following the win in Wellington, we could beat anyone, anywhere if we played well.
Morale: England will gain huge self-belief thanks to the fine victory
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Some 12 years on this England team are far younger and are at the embryonic stage of development. Chris Robshaw’s team might even be happier playing their next game as underdogs against another southern hemisphere power rather than going into the high-pressure games of a tournament as a strongly-fancied team.
England start at home against a Scotland team who have had a poor autumn campaign, but who will use England’s win over the All Blacks as a way to motivate themselves.
It was certainly a total performance by England.
Everyone had talked about how they needed to go out and take on New Zealand, but no one truly believed that they would match the All Blacks for tries.
Yes, England did get a couple of breaks, especially Dan Carter missing those kicks in the first half, but they kept the scoreboard ticking over through some great work by the forwards and Owen Farrell’s accuracy.
I knew at the start of the second half England were mentally right when Geoff Parling led the charge from the kick-off to gain a scrum which led to another penalty by Farrell.
And the way England immediately regained the momentum, after New Zealand had scored their first two tries, was another turning point.
Tough: Brad Barritt takes down Victor Vito
Sir Clive Woodward always told his 2003 team that the opposition were at their most vulnerable when they had scored.
Brad Barritt disproved that theory, though. After he and Manu Tuilagi had surged away to create the team’s first try, Barritt, despite the magnitude of his score, was the man sweeping up the kick off at the re-start by New Zealand.
That try put England on the front foot and led to the further tries by Chris Ashton and Tuilagi which forced the All Blacks into some very unusual desperate play.
Roaming: Manu Tuilagi was among the scorers
England must have realised they had the All Blacks beaten when Carter, the world’s best player, was substituted after 64 minutes.
The only aspect the All Blacks looked better at times than England was their passing, especially for Julian Savea’s second try.
It was one of the best I’ve seen, but will be lost in the exhilaration of watching a great England performance.