England were unable to make lightning strike twice at Twickenham today, despite giving the all-conquering New Zealand a mighty scare.
The All Blacks have lost only once since winning the World Cup two years ago, and that was at Twickenham last autumn as England shocked planet rugby with a 38-21 victory.
And it looked for all the world that the All Blacks were hell-bent on revenge on their return, as inspired by Dan Carter and Kieran Read, they built a 17-3 lead after 18 minutes through a Julian Savea try and a score by Read.
But when Carter - earning his 100th cap - limped off, and Read was sin-binned, England sparked a turnaround.
Their scrum forced Joe Launchbury over and Owen Farrell kicked six out of six, five of them penalties, to take England into a 22-20 lead with an hour gone.
Roared on by “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” from Twickenham’s steeped terraces, Stuart Lancaster’s men looked to hammer home their advantage.
But the All Blacks swung the momentum their way again, and decisively so, when Savea scored his second try, despite the best efforts of Mike Brown, who stopped a try for Charles Piutau on one wing and then nearly did the same to Savea on the other. Aaron Cruden converted and sealed the win with a late penalty.
Despite the defeat, England’s forwards put in a terrific shift and the character and heart of Lancaster’s men can not be questioned.