July 7, 2024


The highly anticipated first rugby union Test match between New Zealand and England took place in Dunedin on the 6th of July, 2024. This match was part of an exciting two-Test series, which marked England's first visit to New Zealand since 2014. Fans from both sides were eager, creating an atmosphere filled with anticipation and excitement at the iconic Forsyth Barr Stadium. With New Zealand under the new guidance of coach Scott Robertson and England led by the steadfast Steve Borthwick, the stage was set for an enthralling encounter between two rugby giants.

Match Overview

The match itself lived up to its billing with both teams fiercely contesting every inch of the ground. It was a tense game that saw New Zealand emerging victorious with a narrow 16-15 win. The result has resonated deeply with rugby enthusiasts, given the intensity and competitiveness displayed throughout the game. This close margin is a testament to how finely balanced the match was, reflecting the high stakes and skill from both teams. The All Blacks secured their win through the sheer determination and tactical prowess that has long been associated with New Zealand rugby.

Key Moments

Despite multiple opportunities to seize the game, England's effort was marred by inaccurate kicking. Marcus Smith, England's promising young talent, missed three vital kicks. One of these misses was agonizingly close, occurring near the goalposts and signaling what might have been if England had capitalized on these chances. Smith's missteps were a harsh reminder of the game's unpredictability. Rugby can often come down to fine margins, and this match was a classic example.

The All Blacks showed their strategic mastery by capitalizing on every opportunity. Their tries came courtesy of Sevu Reece and Ardie Savea, whose performances were pivotal to their team's success. Reece, known for his speed and agility, sliced through England's defense, showcasing incredible footwork and determination. Savea, with his robust presence and powerful runs, was instrumental in tipping the balance in favor of New Zealand.

England's Strong Defense

England, on the other hand, exhibited a commendable defensive performance that often thwarted the All Blacks' attempts to extend their lead. Tries from Maro Itoje and exciting newcomer Feyi-Waboso demonstrated England's resilience and tactical responses. Itoje's try highlighted his strength and agility, qualities that have made him one of England's most reliable players. Feyi-Waboso brought a fresh dynamic to the game, with an impressive debut that suggests a promising future for the young player.

The defensive strategies employed by England were aggressive and unyielding, a reflection of the team's commitment to disrupting New Zealand's flow. England's players frequently put their bodies on the line, tackling with ferocity and maintaining a solid defensive line. This level of grit and determination, albeit ultimately not enough to secure a win, showcased the heart and soul of English rugby.

New Zealand's Ruthless Efficiency

New Zealand's Ruthless Efficiency

The All Blacks demonstrated their traditional ruthlessness, making the most of England's errors and ensuring that every lapse was punished. Their ability to stay composed under pressure and turn the smallest of mistakes into points on the board was crucial. This efficiency is a hallmark of New Zealand rugby, honed over years of competing at the highest levels. Watching them in action was both a lesson in precision rugby and a reminder of why they remain one of the most formidable teams in the sport.

The Aftermath

After the final whistle, the mood in Dunedin was vibrant, with New Zealand fans celebrating their team’s hard-fought victory. For England, though there was an element of disappointment, the match provided vital lessons that could be invaluable going forward in the series and beyond. The narrow loss, while bitter, highlighted areas for improvement and showcased the potential within the English squad. Coach Steve Borthwick acknowledged the tough defeat but emphasized the positives, pointing towards building on this performance for future success.

Meanwhile, Scott Robertson expressed pride in his team's ability to secure the win under such high-stakes conditions. As the freshly appointed coach, this victory was particularly significant as it marked a successful start to his tenure with the All Blacks. His strategies and decisions during the match reflected an insightful understanding of his team and their capabilities, promising more thrilling rugby in the times ahead.

Looking Ahead

Looking Ahead

The second Test match of the series is now eagerly anticipated, with both teams having much to prove. For England, it’s a chance for redemption and an opportunity to fine-tune their strategies. They will be looking to iron out the flaws and bring their A-game in the hope of leveling the series. The emphasis will likely be on addressing the kicking issues and enhancing their offensive strategies to better capitalize on scoring opportunities.

For New Zealand, it's about consolidating their lead and continuing to enforce their dominance. They will aim to stay focused and replicate their tactical efficiency. With the first win under their belt, the All Blacks will be working to maintain their winning momentum. The second match promises to be as exhilarating as the first, with both teams hungry for success and ready to leave it all on the field.


The first Test match between New Zealand and England was a spectacular showcase of rugby at its finest. A narrow 16-15 victory for New Zealand underscored the competitive nature of the sport and the high skill levels of both teams. While England's missed opportunities and New Zealand's clinical execution were the standout factors in this game, the real story was the resilience, passion, and high-quality rugby displayed by both sides. As the teams prepare for the next battle, fans can only expect more intense, edge-of-the-seat action. This series is far from over, and the rugby world eagerly awaits the next thrilling chapter.