Yet, as I said in this week’s preview of the match, this England squad is far better than many has given them credit for and their commitment and self belief is top drawer.
This positive attitude was prevalent all week (in fact, it has been there since we assembled at camp) and the squad has now gained the level of recognition it deserves.
In one of the most memorable matches ever at Twickenham, it is very difficult to isolate just one Moment of the Match and so I am going to nominate that 10 minute spell in the second half just after New Zealand had closed the gap to one point.
This would have been the moment for lesser teams to exhibit self doubt and become tentative. It is to the side’s immense credit that they did just the opposite and stepped up the ferocity, pace and ambition to score three cracking tries – all of which featured Manu Tuilagi – to take the game away from the World Champions and to set up England’s record-breaking winning score against the All Blacks.
It was also good to see young Freddie Burns make an assured debut and rack up his first international points in an England jersey.
Let’s also recognise the achievement of the England Women’s rugby team who also defeated the Black Ferns at Twickenham on Saturday to take their Test series by 3-0.
I’m sure that a pint of Greene King IPA in the Rose & Crown at Twickenham tasted so much better for England supporters after the game on Saturday!
Tom Palmer is writing for Greene King IPA