Ben Smith steers All Blacks to 28-27 Test win against England

A star turn by the pride of the south Ben Smith was the tonic for the All Blacks as they overcame another spirited English team on Saturday night.

The All Blacks scored three second-half tries to break the hearts of the tourists, who had fought their way to a four-point lead at half-time.

Smith was superb throughout his long-awaited chance to wear the No.15 jersey for the All Blacks in front of 28,470 appreciative fans under the Dunedin roof.

It was the sort of match-winning performance the All Blacks badly needed in a game where their improvements from Eden Park were small rather than spectacular.

It was obvious Aaron Cruden is still looking to find his touch and he was pulled with half an hour left, just after a perfectly timed pass to Julian Savea which led to Smith finishing off an 80-metre movement.

That try gave the All Blacks the lead for the first time and they increased their advantage after a long run down the right-hand sideline by Aaron Smith, which eventually led to a Savea try after offloads by Ma'a Nonu and Jerome Kaino.

Under increasing pressure, the English were slammed with a yellow card to Owen Farrell and the All Blacks quickly piled on 10 points, including a try to Nonu.

England struck back through fullback Mike Brown, despite some confusion over whether he had grounded the ball, to cut the deficit to eight points inside the last 10 minutes.

The All Blacks managed to close out the game and wrap up the series with the Hamilton Test still to play, but only after Chris Ashton scored on full-time to get the English within one point.

England took a deserved lead into half-time, but without the heroics of Ben Smith the gap would have been even greater.

With both teams getting a little hysterical on attack, a stone-cold drop by Cory Jane presented England wing Manu Tuilagi with a 70-metre run to the line. The only thing between him and glory was the man they call ''Ghost'', and Smith came up with something almost supernatural as he lowered the giant Tuilagi and then stripped the ball from him like a hungry kid hunting toheroa.

Cruden banged over a penalty on half-time to cut the deficit to 10-6.

This story Ben Smith steers All Blacks to 28-27 Test win against England first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.