Eddie Jones: England boss praises ‘finishers’ after dramatic 25-25 draw against New Zealand

Eddie Jones: England boss praises 'finishers' after dramatic 25-25 draw against New Zealand

Will Stuart saluted the crowd after his two tries helped England snatch a draw

England head coach Eddie Jones praised his “finishers” after a stunning late comeback secured a dramatic 25-25 draw with New Zealand at Twickenham.

The All Blacks led 14-0 after only nine minutes, and were 25-6 ahead as the game entered its final 10 minutes.

But two tries from replacement Will Stuart and one from Freddie Steward ensured the hosts snatched a draw.

“All of a sudden someone blows some magic dust, the passes start to stick and are a bit sharper,” said Jones.

“Our finishers came on and really improved the game we wanted to play.”

Dalton Papali’i and Codie Taylor had crossed in the opening nine minutes to put the All Blacks on top, and they had gone into half-time with a 17-3 lead.

England fly-half Marcus Smith’s penalty reduced the lead early in the second half, but the visitors looked to be heading for a comfortable win after Rieko Ioane’s breakaway try and Beauden Barrett’s drop goal.

However, Barrett was yellow-carded moments before Stuart’s first try was awarded, and England capitalised on their numerical advantage in a thrilling climax.

With the game level and time up, England claimed the restart but elected to kick the ball out to secure a draw rather than mount a final attack – a decision that was booed by some at Twickenham.

Jones said he trusted his players to make the decision, but All Blacks counterpart Ian Foster said he was surprised.

“If you flipped it around, I would have liked our guys to have a crack,” he said. “I’m not sure what their tactics were.”

While Stuart had an evening to remember, scrum-half Jack van Poortvliet found the going tough – having a pass intercepted for the All Blacks’ first try.

But captain Owen Farrell, who was winning his 100th cap, praised the 21-year-old for keeping his composure.

“He didn’t get flustered,” said Farrell. “There’s plenty of blokes who come into Test rugby and make a mistake and just don’t want to make another, but he’s not like that.”

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