New Zealand 13-15 Engand
England clinch historic win
June 14, 2003
Martin Johnson charges against Richie McCaw, New Zealand v England, Westpac Stadium, Wellington, June 14, 2003
Martin Johnson charges against Richie McCaw © Getty Images
Date/Time: June 14, 2003, 19:00 local, 07:00 GMT
Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington
New Zealand 13 - 15 England
Half-time: 6 - 6
Tries: Howlett
Cons: Spencer
Pens: Spencer 2
Pens: Wilkinson 4
DG: Wilkinson

England recorded their first victory in New Zealand for 30 years with a superb defensive display at the Westpac Trust Stadium, Wellington.

Once again flyhalf Jonny Wilkinson spearheaded England's victory in blustery conditions kicking all the points in the narrow 15-13 triumph.

But it was a superb defensive performance that laid the foundations for the historic win most notably when the tourists were reduced to the thirteen men just after the break with successive yellow cards for Neil Back and then Lawrence Dallaglio.

England weathered a brutal onslaught from their hosts whilst they had the two-man advantage and not only managed to shut them out but extend their lead thanks to the boot of Wilkinson.

The win confirmed England's status as the world's best team and set a new red rose record of 12 successive Test match wins.

But perhaps most significantly of all, Martin Johnson's men struck a huge psychological blow against their major World Cup rivals just four months before rugby's global extravaganza kicks off in Australia.

But Carlos Spencer, Wilkinson's opposite number, endured a nightmare time with the boot, missing four kicks at goal. His failures proved critical.

England rumbled New Zealand from the kick-off when lock Ben Kay charged down an attempted Spencer clearance, and Wilkinson's opening penalty gave them a quickfire 3-0 lead.

Spencer tied things up through an 11th-minute penalty, which signalled a concerted spell of All Blacks pressure as England's lineout badly misfired, mainly through hooker Steve Thompson's throwing.

Despite dominating the first-half territory though, New Zealand failed to turn attacking promise into points, despite scrum-half Justin Marshall and full-backDoug Howlett both going close.

England's defence held firm - Dallaglio leading from the front - and a superb Wilkinson penalty from wide out into the wind restored a three-point lead before Spencer's second successful penalty from five attempts made it 6-6 at the break.

Gloucester prop Phil Vickery replaced Jason Leonard for the second-half, and it took England just four minutes to regain the initiative when Wilkinson landed a superb 45-metre penalty.

But a promising position for England evaporated as referee Stuart Dickinson finally lost patience after he issued several warnings to players blatantly killing opposition ball.

Back was first into the sin-bin on 46 minutes, and after New Zealand launched a thrilling counter-attack barely 100 seconds later, Dallaglio emulated Back'scynical tactic, giving Dickinson little option but to brandish another yellow card.

England had lost two-thirds of their back-row, yet the defence remained water-tight, even keeping out All Blacks number eight Rodney So'oialo from close range when video referee Peter Marshall rightly ruled that he was grounded inches short.

New Zealand lost Marshall through injury - Steve Devine replaced him - and England's 13 men held out until Back returned, quickly followed by Dallaglio.

It was a colossal effort from the tourists in such testing circumstances, and they almost scored an outstanding try, taking possession through several phases until wing Ben Cohen went for glory and was tackled into touch.

Wilkinson's fourth penalty edged England further ahead as they were restored to a full 15-man complement, taking them into the final quarter on a huge psychological surge.

And Wilkinson kept them in the driving seat through an effortless drop-goal, throwing down the gauntlet as New Zealand found themselves under huge pressure.

They responded 18 minutes from time when Spencer's kick deep into English territory exploited a huge defensive hole, and Howlett's pace took him clear of a retreating Dallaglio for an outstanding try that Spencer converted.

But Spencer's penalty woes continued, with his fourth miss on 64 minutes enabling England to maintain their two-point advantage.

There maybe citings after the game following a stamping incident late in the game where England's Josh Lewsey was on the receiving end of Ali Williams' boot as it was picke dup by the cameras but not the touch judge.

The attack meant Lewsey had to leave the field to be replaced by Dan Luger with Robinson switching to fullback.

New Zealand threw everything at their opponents during the closing stages, yet it was England's day, recording back to back victories agains the All Blacks for the first time ever.

The win sets England up superbly for next weekend's Melbourne encounter with world champions Australia.

New Zealand: D Howlett; J Rokocoko, M Nonu, T Umaga, C Ralph; C Spencer, J Marshall; D Hewett, A Oliver, G Somerville, C Jack, A Williams, R Thorne (capt), R McCaw, R So'oialo.

Replacements: M Muliaina, D Carter, S Devine, J Collins, B Thorn, C Hoeft, K Mealamu.

England: J Lewsey; J Robinson, W Greenwood, M Tindall, B Cohen; J Wilkinson, K Bracken; G Rowntree, S Thompson, J Leonard, M Johnson, B Kay, R Hill, N Back, L Dallaglio.

Replacements: D West, P Vickery, S Borthwick, J Worsley, A Gomarsall, P Grayson, D Luger.

England fly-half Jonny Wilkinson goes flying in on New Zealand's Ma'a Nonu © Getty Images

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