There’s something about England opposing New Zealand that always produces fireworks.

Three years ago, Eddie Jones’ team beat the All Blacks in the Rugby World Cup semi-finals after one of their best performances ever. A year earlier, New Zealand had beaten them by a single point at Twickenham, and the dominant England won 38-21 in 2012 – their last victory over the All Blacks on home soil.

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Saturday’s meeting was no different. The Jones team somehow rallied after three tries and secured a 25-25 tie thanks to Will Stewart’s two delayed TMOs and another brilliant effort from Freddie Steward. The whistle that could be heard when Marcus Smith kicked the ball out of play after the 80-minute mark spoke of how England had turned a competition in which they basically looked dead and buried.

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The real fireworks took place before the start of the match, although it seemed redundant. Everyone knows how important England-New Zealand are to both groups of fans. That it happens so rarely only adds to the sense of chance each time the two sides meet – it was only the third time Jones has faced the All Blacks since taking over as England manager in 2015.

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Saturday’s meeting had another meaning as Owen Farrell wore his 100th England shirt – the same number worn by Brody Retallick for the All Blacks.

Much has been said about how England will react to the hack ahead of this game. In the 2019 semi-final, Jones’s team lined up in a V-shape to oppose a Māori war dance, with the image of a grinning Owen Farrell being one of the defining memories of that 19–7 victory. This time around, England joined hands and Twickenham played his part, with fans singing a deafening version of Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.

It was exactly what England striker manager Richard Cockerill, who himself memorably took on the haka in 1997, urged Twickenham fans to do before this match. But he also pointed out that it means little if England can’t back it up with an impressive performance on the pitch.

For over 70 minutes, this was out of scope for Jones’ team. An early error by Jack van Poortvliet seemed to set the tone for the first half as he passed straight to oncoming Dalton Papalia, who took the ball home on New Zealand’s first try in the fourth minute. Cody Taylor added more moments later, while Rieko Ioane snuffed out the mini-England resurgence early in the second half as he raced to shed some light between the two sides.

“I think we played with amazing spirit in the first half, I think New Zealand were great in the first half,” Jones said. “I can’t remember New Zealand playing as well as they did in the first half: aggressive, sharp in attack, with good attacking shots – and we just had to hang on.”

When Boden Barrett scored 25-6 against New Zealand, it looked like it would be another step back for England under Jones. But a yellow card from Barrett and Stewart’s first try led to a chaotic shutdown. Jones’ substitutions were crucial as Steward left in style before Stewart crossed again and Smith’s kicks equalized England, although New Zealand boss Ian Foster admitted he was surprised by Smith’s decision not to aim for the win.

“Was I surprised? Yes, it was,” Foster said. “All I know is that if we flipped it, I would like our guys to have a crack, so I’m not sure what their tactics were.”

The draw was another reminder of the vulnerability of both teams. New Zealand went through one of their worst years in terms of results, with their first loss of the series to Ireland on home soil, followed by losses to South Africa and Argentina. England, meanwhile, ended their second consecutive Six Nations campaign with just two wins earlier this year, but went on to pick up an impressive series win in Australia despite losing their first game.

Foster joked that there would be two press conferences – one for the first 70 minutes and one for the last 10.

“The 25:25 draw is probably where we are very disappointed,” Foster said. “I felt our first 70, for me we really played the rugby that we want to get to. We had a great tour and we were determined to go into this game against a team that had been very physically against us for three years. back.”

Less than 10 months left before the World Cup, and both teams continue to work. England will look to solidify their position when they face their 2019 winner South Africa next week, while the All Blacks will be happy to end a tough campaign by their standards. Whenever their next meeting occurs, you expect both parties to enjoy it.

“The crowd was fantastic, which definitely got the players excited. So we are grateful to the 81,641 who were there – I don’t know what happened to the rest. [349]”Jones said. “They’ll be kicking themselves and hopefully there will be 82,000 next week because it’s going to be a hell of a game.”