At the end of the game between England and New Zealand which ended in an unthinkable draw (25-25) With the All Blacks leading by 19 points 9 minutes from the final whistle on Saturday, England manager Eddie Jones was seen smiling, as if relieved and happy not to have to justify another misstep at home by his team after the one committed at the start of the tour against Argentina (29-30). Then he descended onto the lawn to greet his players, comfort Jack van Poortvliet, the young scrum-half who completely missed his subject, and whisper in the ear of Marcus Smith, the man who rang the bell. English revolt, but who was also whistled and criticized for having cleared the ball in touch in the 80th minute, and thus having broken the dream of Twickenham to see his team beat the All Blacks.
All of this was discussed at Eddie Jones’ post-match press conference: “We are disappointed because we didn’t win the game, but a draw is a draw. And given their domination in the first period, we could have given up. And we have already seen in the past great teams give up against the all blacks and take 50 points. The All Blacks were aggressive, stronger in the rucks, and their attacking kicks were very good. And us, we hung on, we hung on… When you are completely pulverized by this team as we were in the first period, and you don’t stay in the fight, it becomes very complicated. And we stayed in the game, with an exceptional reaction from the team leaders. For his hundredth selection, Owen Farrell did a great job, like Ellis Genge, or Jack Nowell. The other important element of the match was the public support which was simply exceptional. The crowd was amazing and lifted the players.
“And what is also important is that we drew at 23”
At the start of the second half, we tried to put pressure on them. We dominated but failed to convert, and then someone threw magic dust on our team, the passes came, and we were cleaner. I think this match is going to be very important for us, because it was also for many of my players their first time against New Zealand, and it will give them a lot of experience. And what is also important is that we drew at 23. On the decision of Marcus Smith, it is a decision that belongs to the players. I am not in the field to influence them, I trust them. Marcus is an incredible player and his last forty minutes are his best. He was aggressive, decisive, and wanted to own the game, but not individually. I am convinced that this is a big step forward for this young man. And for Jack van Poortvliet who is a brilliant young player (21 years old), it’s a game in which things didn’t go well, and you have to fight against that. He will learn a lot from what happened. »