Blacks won by a narrow margin.

Blacks won by a narrow margin.

In the first match of Scott Robertson's tenure, New Zealand beat England 16-15 on Saturday in Dunedin.

We haven't seen the All Blacks since their World Cup final defeat to South Africa just over eight months ago. Now coached by Scott Robertson (49), the former third-row from Perpignan who succeeded Ian Foster after the World Cup, the New Zealanders kicked off their summer with a match against England on Saturday in Dunedin. They won 16-15 in what was a very even, if not scorching, encounter. In a temperature of 9 degrees Celsius, the Blacks welcomed the English, who had finished third in the last Six Nations, with the most belligerent of hakas, the kappa or pango. And it was they who scored the first try of the game. In the 16th minute, after a long period of play, half-back Damian McKenzie passed to winger Sipho Rees with a wonderful foot pass, who fired it into the right corner. But Mackenzie failed to convert (5-0).

Five minutes later, the English took their turn to try. After a touch on the right and a feint from a carried ball, Chandler Cunningham-South inherited the ball but did not have the long arm to level it, unlike Maro Itoje, who recovered the ball and scored a correct try after the video review. It was converted by Marcus Smith (5-7). This did not bother the Blacks who responded two minutes later with another try thanks to Ardie Savea. After a rally, the New Zealanders made quick work of doubling the passes, and TJ Perenara passed to Stephen Perofeta, who sent Savea into the right corner. Again, McKenzie did not convert (10-7). But his counterpart Marcus Smith did not miss the penalty awarded to the English after the siren, allowing them to draw with the Blacks at half-time (10-10).

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Mackenzie is decisive

It was XV de la Rose who started the second half better with a try in the 48th minute from Emmanuel Faye-Waboso. After a long period of play and good work from the forwards, the winger was able to finish on the left, and Marcus Smith sent it in well, who did not convert the try (10-15). Again late, the New Zealanders were unable to score in the second half, but they were able to take advantage of the English lack of discipline to score from penalties.

In the 54th minute, Mackenzie brought his team back to -2 (13-15), then in the 65th minute he restored the lead to the Lions (16-15), who maintained it until the end without shaking much. So New Zealand begin the Robertson era with a short but precious victory, before they meet England next week at Eden Park in Auckland. The English people have been waiting for victory in the land of the long white cloud for 21 years.

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