Late Smith try helps NZ to scrappy win over England

Monday, 9 June 2014 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Reuters: A rusty New Zealand needed a late try from Conrad Smith for a 20-15 win in the first test against an understrength England in Auckland on Saturday as they struggled to snuff out the challenge of a visiting side reduced to 14 men for most of the final 10 minutes. Winger Marland Yarde’s yellow card in the 68th minute for a professional foul turned the match in New Zealand’s favour with Aaron Cruden slotting his fifth penalty to give the All Blacks their first lead of the game. Smith then scored a 78th minute try to give the All Blacks the victory that extended their winning streak at Eden Park to 32 games, and their current run of test victories to 15, though few New Zealand fans would have been left satisfied after such a scratchy opening performance in the three-test series. “We expected England to be a very good side and that’s what we got,” All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said in a televised interview. “We had to work for it but when you come off limited preparations you are going to be rusty and we were. “Our handling at times was very poor, from our strike plays we let ourselves down a bit, but we showed really good mental fortitude to stay in the game. “I think we controlled the game in the second half but didn’t put them away because of our errors. “Happy to take the win but clearly work to be done before next week.” The tourists, who were written off during the week because several first team players only arrived in the country on Wednesday following the England club final, showed they would be a force at next year’s World Cup with their developing depth and all-round game. Unlike England sides of the past, they were prepared to spread the ball wide with Manu Tuilagi, who tore the All Blacks to shreds two years ago at Twickenham, again the focal point of their attack, constantly threatening the line and making ground. The visitors also controlled the tempo of the game in the first half and did not allow the All Blacks to develop any rhythm. “I think we were probably half a yard off the pace in the first half,” All Blacks captain Richie McCaw said. “It took us about 40 minutes to build into it and it was a lot better in the second half even though the scoreboard was pretty close.”

 Australia rout poor France in first test

Reuters: Australia scythed through a porous French defence to score seven tries and a 50-23 victory over the visitors in their first test of a three-game series in Brisbane on Saturday, though may have lost captain Stephen Moore with a serious knee injury. Australia put the game beyond doubt in the first half with tries to Israel Folau, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Michael Hooper and Matt Toomua to give them a 29-9 lead at the break before Nick Cummins, Kurtley Beale and Pat McCabe all crossed in the second. Bernard Foley contributed 15 points from six conversions and a penalty for the hosts, who lost Moore to a knee injury inside the first 60 seconds. “It’s sore, but that’s what happens and I’ll go get a scan,” Moore said in a televised interview. “Great start for us, unfortunately I wasn’t out there for much of it but the boys did some great work and scored some great tries.” Australia held a 50-9 lead before France replacement Morgan Parra scored a late consolation try, while their scrum earned a penalty try, both of which flyhalf Frederic Michalak converted to go with an early dropgoal and two penalties for the visitors. The Wallabies, who have not lost to France at home in 24 years, were simply too clinical for the tourists, who had a disjointed buildup with several players arriving late following the French club final while inspirational captain Thierry Dusautoir was ruled out due to a biceps injury.