England lose 30-22 to New Zealand at Twickenham
ENGLAND (16) 22
- Farrell 5
NEW ZEALAND (20) 30
- Savea 2, Read
- Carter 2, Cruden
- Carter, Cruden 2
England's superb fightback ended in defeat as their bid to repeat last year's stirring win over the All Blacks came up short in the face of the all-round class of the world champions.
The hosts took the lead for three minutes around the hour mark but New Zealand hit back immediately to stay on course for a perfect year after a 13th straight Test victory of 2013.
Early tries from wing Julian Savea and number eight Kieran Read saw the All Blacks establish a commanding 17-3 lead.
But England's forward power yielded a try for lock Joe Launchbury and five penalties from Owen Farrell saw them recover to lead 22-20.
The world champions showed their quality though to manufacture a third try - Savea's second - and Aaron Cruden's penalty kept England at arm's length in the closing exchanges.
Victory leaves New Zealand with one more Test - against Ireland in Dublin next Sunday - to negotiate as they bid to become the first country in the professional era to win every Test in a calendar year.
England's run of six straight wins at Twickenham - their best since 2003 - may have come to an end, but there was plenty to admire in the way they applied the pressure to a side many consider to be possibly the finest All Blacks side of all time.
The difference ultimately lay in the clinical manner in which New Zealand took their chances, with England's attacks lacking the same precision despite a welter of possession.
The visitors took the lead inside two minutes with a soft try. Read should have been shunted into touch with Chris Ashton, Billy Vunipola and Lee Dickson all in attendance but the imperious number eight managed to slip a pass right-handed back inside from the left touchline, allowing Savea to go over for his 17th Test try.
Dan Carter, who led the All Blacks out on the occasion of his 100th Test, landed the conversion and started to control proceedings with his masterful left boot.
One pin-point cross-kick landed straight into the arms of right wing Charles Piutau; another dink over the top was claimed by centre Ben Smith to launch another attack.
But the celebrated fly-half was forced off injured after only 25 minutes, Cruden coming on in his stead, and with him went the All Blacks' authority for long periods.
Carter had already added a penalty and another conversion before his departure, as New Zealand struck again in the 16th minute.
Prop Owen Franks was sent racing through a huge hole in England's fringe defence, and full-back Israel Dagg popped a simple pass to the ubiquitous Read to round Ben Foden and score in the right corner.
Gradually though England asserted themselves, and twice kicked penalties to touch in the right corner, but the All Blacks just managed to keep their line intact.
A scrum yielded a third penalty and again, after England went to the corner and Courtney Lawes took the catch, they mauled their way to the line, but television match official Gareth Simmonds was unable to find an angle that confirmed the celebrating Dylan Hartley had indeed scored.
Up in the stands, England coach Stuart Lancaster shook his head in disbelief, but the hosts got the benefit of the doubt on the next TMO decision.
Awarded a five-metre scrum after Hartley's non-try, the ball squirted out and ricocheted off Tom Wood. Launchbury reacted quickest to pick up and touch down from a metre out, and after another referral, England had the try their forward efforts deserved.
Farrell's conversion cut the gap to seven points, and after Cruden had restored New Zealand's 10-point advantage for a marginal offside, the England fly-half replied in kind as referee Craig Joubert lost patience with the visitors' persistent infringement and Read was yellow-carded for coming in at the side of a ruck.
England managed to force the All Blacks front row up on their own scrum to give Farrell the chance to reduce the deficit further before the interval, and remained in the ascendancy on the resumption.
One promising attack petered out as Ashton, taking the ball at first receiver, tried an ill-advised chip ahead to the corner.
But a crude obstruction on the same player by replacement Kiwi prop Wyatt Crockett as the winger chased his own kick allowed Farrell to bring England to within a point.
His sixth successful kick out of six nudged them ahead for the first time as Twickenham roared its approval at the prospect of repeating last year's unexpected triumph.
But the loss of Hartley, who was forced off in the 50th minute after taking a heavy blow tackling New Zealand captain Richie McCaw, disrupted the previously impeccable England line-out and three throws from his replacement Tom Youngs were picked off by the All Blacks jumpers.
The second led directly to the clinching score as England failed to gather in their own ball and the world champions struck, Piutau denied by the excellent Mike Brown in the right corner from the initial surge.
But despite a valiant attempt, the full-back was unable to prevent Savea - after a superb offload from Ma'a Nonu - steaming over from close range as the All Blacks switched the ball to the left flank with a precision and speed that England struggled to match.
Cruden stroked over a penalty with nine minutes left to end any thoughts of a home comeback and keep the world champions on track for a year of total domination.
England: Mike Brown, Chris Ashton, Joel Tomkins, Billy Twelvetrees, Ben Foden, Owen Farrell, Lee Dickson; Joe Marler, Dylan Hartley, Dan Cole, Joe Launchbury, Courtney Lawes, Tom Wood, Chris Robshaw (capt), Billy Vunipola.
Replacements: Tom Youngs (for Hartley, 50), Matt Mullan (for Marler, 77), David Wilson (for Cole, 77), Geoff Parling (for Launchbury, 46), Ben Morgan (for Vunipola, 57), Ben Youngs (for Dickson, 65), Toby Flood (for Farrell, 67), Alex Goode (for Tomkins, 77).
New Zealand: Israel Dagg, Charles Piutau, Ben Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Julian Savea, Daniel Carter, Aaron Smith; Tony Woodcock, Keven Mealamu, Owen Franks, Brodie Retallick, Samuel Whitelock, Liam Messam, Richie McCaw (capt), Kieran Read.
Replacements: Dane Coles (for Mealamu, 61), Wyatt Crockett (for Woodcock, 41), Charlie Faumuina (for Franks, 43), Luke Romano (for Retallick, 65), Steven Luatua (for Messam, 65), Tawera Kerr-Barlow (for A Smith, 71), Aaron Cruden (for Carter, 26), Ryan Crotty (for Piutau, 71).
Yellow card: Read (33-43)
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)