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ABs praise England's performance

Sunday 02 Dec 2012 6:39p.m.

ABs praise England's performance

The All Blacks went into the test against England with some players still suffering from a stomach bug, which had swept through the team during the week.

But they weren't using that as an excuse, instead praising England’s performance, which handed them their biggest win ever over the All Blacks.

They were flat, but All blacks skipper Richie McCaw says that not because they were sick.

"Had we fallen off at the end you'd probably blame it on that,” says McCaw. “But it was right from the word go. I felt fine in that department but we struggled to get into the game."

"[There are] definitely no excuses for the way we performed out there tonight,” says All Blacks first-five Dan Carter. “It was a challenging week, but at the end of the day we were ready to play and we didn't play as well as we should have."

And Carter's off-night came after he'd been in doubt, with an Achilles injury also dismissed.

"We don't have an excuse,” says coach Steve Hansen. “We just got beaten by a better side and we'll take that on the chin."

"The energy they brought to the game and the way they used the ball, to be honest I thought we were outplayed today,” says All Blacks hooker Keven Mealamu.

England did to the All Blacks what they'd hope to do to England, with centre Manusamoa Tuilagi spearheading an attack that shredded the defence, while the pack dominated, especially at the breakdown.

"Our defence was outstanding,” says England coach Stuart Lancaster. “We forced the All Blacks into errors and not many sides do that."

"Pressure makes mistakes, and even at the end we dropped one that most of the time a blind mind could have caught that,” says Hansen. “And we had two guys drop two."

It was Hansen's first loss as head coach.

"Right now, how do I feel? Disappointed is the nicest way I can say it – disappointed. But that's sport and you've got to accept it. We had our go. We had 80 minutes to do our best and on this occasion we got beaten by a side that were better than us. So we'll go away and have a look at what we have to do better and I'm sure we'll come back."

They get the chance to win the Hilary Shield back when they play England again at Twickenham this time, next year.

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