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Borthwick reflects with pride and frustration on narrow loss

Borthwick reflects with pride and frustration on narrow loss

All BlacksJuly 8, 2024

England coach Steve Borthwick said his camp was mixed with pride and frustration after its 15-16 loss to the All Blacks in the first Steinlager Ultra Low Carb Test at Dunedin on Saturday.

They had set out to win, but they felt disappointed and also proud because they came off the pitch proud of what they had done.

Borthwick said there wasn't much between the sides; they scored two tries each, and the margins were fine.

"The second half turned into a proper arm wrestle for both teams in the middle of the pitch. Neither team got too many entries into the opposition's 22. So, it was a battle for fine margins, and we will review it thoroughly and look at how we can be better next week.

"The effort of the players was magnificent. There'll be areas to improve upon and we'll look closely at them."

Borthwick didn't want the Dunedin to be the ceiling for the side.

"It was always going to be a one score game for a young side like us. There's a huge amount that we can take from that, and we'll be better for it next week. You've probably heard me say many times since I came into this role, we've got to keep getting better and that we've got to learn from every experience, whether you win, whether you lose, or you draw."

The New Zealand side they met had 200 more Test caps than England, and its average age was two years older.

The side was still enthusiastic, although it was the end of their season, and he had been having to hold back the intensity of their training.


While first five-eighths Marcus Smith had goal-kicking issues, he produced some magic in other parts of the game.

Prop Joe Marler would need scans and x-rays before deciding on his availability for the second Test. But his replacement, Fin Baxter, had done well in his 60 minutes of action.

Captain Jamie George said, "Look what an exciting opportunity we've got this week, the last week of the season. 

"We know going to Eden Park the record that they have there. But, at the same time, we can take a lot from the game and make sure that we're a better team going into next week."

While losing was disappointing, they had come to New Zealand to win and do something no England team had done for 21 years. They put their hand up at times and controlled the game for long periods.

“First test of the year lungs felt it, body felt it but ready to hook into next week” 📈#ReplayInTheSheds @replay pic.twitter.com/pvahMgrUA8

— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) July 7, 2024

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