Menu allblacks.com

News

Evans rapt with English lesson

Getty Images

Sportal.co.nz     14 Jul 2013     Getty Images

After a relatively slow start it was the hosts who inched ahead thanks to the boot of Kelly Brazier and a try to debutant Portia Woodman.

However, it was an ability to stick to a set game plan through key personnel that had Evans most pleased as his side dined on error-riddled patches from their English counterparts to run out 29-10 victors.

The victory was New Zealand's first in seven matches, with their last victory coming at the 2010 Rugby World Cup final.

With five losses and a draw coming from New Zealand's last six encounters with Englan, there was plenty of attention surrounding Saturday's match.

Evans' relief was almost palpable.

"We've got a bit more experience back in our team after a few years. Everyone just kept calm and kept on with the job," said Evans.

"[England] were very good at times in the game, too. It's nice to get one up and to break six games without a win."

While disappointed in his side's line-out efforts in the opening half, Evans noted his side's set-piece improved as the match went on.

The same was said for livewire debutant Woodman. Presented her first opportunity to score out wide, the wing cut in and out before eventually being tackled. She did not need to wait long for her next opportunity as she scored her first try in the right hand corner to extend her side's lead to 8-0.

Evans reserved a lot of praise for Gary Street's team as his side prepared for a trip to Hamilton for the second Test on Tuesday.

"They're a good team. These things don't happen just because we fall off - they put so much pressure on."

Meanwhile, it was an inability to defensively adapt that England captain Sarah Hunter felt led to the demise of her side.

Hunter said a lack of possession in the second half also cost her side dearly.

"We knew what we wanted to do when we got it, we just couldn't get a handle on the game and get into them," said Hunter.

"We need to look at slight changes on how we manage to keep the ball and play phases and have possession - without the ball u can't score."

The England No.8 illustrated her side's inability to adapt on defence. On occasions she believed her side was too tight defensively, allowing players such as Woodman, fellow wing Renee Wickliffe and fullback Victoria Grant plenty of space to move.

Hunter acknowledged her side had some positives to gain from the match, including a dominance at lineout time and a bruising forward pack that had the best part of the first half despite trailing 7-8 at half-time.

"Maybe half-time came at the wrong time, when we were on the up. Having that break gave New Zealand time to regroup."

Despite the defeat, which ended a six-match unbeaten streak over New Zealand that dates back to 2011, Hunter was proud of her side and was confident they could bounce back in Hamilton on Tuesday.

"We never underestimated New Zealand at all. We just needed to play the full 80 minutes. New Zealand maybe exploited some of our defensive lapses, which we can't afford against a side like New Zealand."

The second match between New Zealand kicks off at Hamilton's Waikato Stadium at 7pm, with the third on Saturday at Pukekohe's ECOLight Staidum at 2.35pm.