Saints quintet can’t save England against All Blacks

STRONG PERFORMANCE - Saints pair Courtney Lawes and Dylan Hartley
STRONG PERFORMANCE - Saints pair Courtney Lawes and Dylan Hartley

Five Saints stars helped England push world champions New Zealand all the way at Twickenham on Saturday.

Dylan Hartley, on his 50th appearance for his country, Courtney Lawes, Tom Wood, Lee Dickson and Ben Foden were all among the starting 15.

England had the All Blacks under the cosh, but eventually succumbed to a 30-22 defeat.

Two tries from wing Julian Savea and one from No.8 Kieran Read allied with points from the boots of Dan Carter, on his 100th New Zealand appearance, and Aaron Cruden won it.

England had recovered from 17-3 down to lead 22-20 thanks to a Joe Launchbury try and 17 points from Saracens fly-half Owen Farrell, but they couldn’t hold out.

It was disappointment for the Saints quintet, who each put in sizeable shifts to put their country in position for a crack at the victory.

Hartley was a behemoth before being forced off with concussion on 50 minutes, with the hooker’s highlight a huge hit on Kiwi captain Richie McCaw.

Wood was a man possessed at the breakdown and had claims on the man of the match award, just as he did when England beat New Zealand 38-21 last December.

And Lawes was also part of the successful set piece, putting in an outstanding display from start to finish.

Dickson provided a spark at scrum-half before being replaced by Ben Youngs 15 minutes from time, while Foden remained on for the entire 80 minutes.

The Saints full-back did think he’d scored a memorable try in the first half, racing home and celebrating only to find play had already stopped.

It was to be a microcosm of England’s day, as they came close to being able to rejoice before seeing the glory whipped away by Savea’s late score and Cruden’s boot.