Friday, Feb 27, 2015Friday, Feb 27, 2015

Rugby: Late Conrad Smith try spares All Blacks blushes against England

Published on Jun 7, 2014 6:16 PM
New Zealand All Blacks' Conrad Smith (third, left) celebrates scoring a try with captain Richie McCaw (second, left) during their first rugby union test match against England at Eden Park in Auckland on June 7, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

AUCKLAND (Reuters) - World champions New Zealand needed a late try from Conrad Smith to record a 20-15 victory in the first test in Auckland on Saturday, as they struggled to snuff out the challenge of an under-strength England side reduced to 14 men for the final 10 minutes.

Winger Marland Yarde's yellow card in the 68th minute for a professional foul turned the match in New Zealand's favour, with Aaron Cruden slotting his fifth penalty to give the All Blacks their first lead of the game.

Smith then scored a 78th-minute try to give the All Blacks the victory that extended their winning streak at Eden Park to 32 games, and their current run of test victories to 15 games.

England fly-half Freddie Burns kept his side in the match with four penalties before replacement Danny Cipriani added a 74th-minute penalty for his side, who were without several first choice players following the English club final last weekend.

If you are not a subscriber, you can get instant, unlimited access here