Cruden's choice seals All Blacks win

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Lynn McConnell     08 Jun 2014     Getty Images

Instead of taking a kick at goal which would have given New Zealand an 18-15 lead with three minutes to play, Cruden chanced his arm, took the tap and set in play a movement which saw a clever switch by Barrett, a barn-storming run by Vito to set up a ruck.

Then just short of the goal-line, quick ball allowed substitute halfback TJ Perenara to mark his Test debut with a key blindside pass to wing Ben Smith, whose slick ball out to centre Conrad Smith, who had tracked across from the open side like in the manner of a crafty veteran who had been in that situation before, allowed him to score the match-winning try for a 20-15 win.

Cruden said after getting the call from his team-mates he noticed England were gathering around the goal-posts expecting a shot at goal and he asked the referee Nigel Owens if they could play on and he said 'Yes' so he needed no second bidding.

"We just trust ourselves, we back what we are doing, even in those final stages in the last five minutes when it was tight and we were able to come away with a win which was great," he said.

Centre Conrad Smith said he thought Cruden made a bold choice.

"But the coaches have been big on encouraging that sort of play and it has worked for us in the past so it was a bold decision and it came off," he said.

Smith's own choice to race across from the open side, to move around to the blindside flank was borne of the knowledge of understanding what it was like to defend when a winger down as England were with Marland Yarde in the sin-bin.

"Things do open up on the fringes so I just thought I'd sniff around out there and it just happened to go our way so it worked out nicely," he said.

Chancing their arm was something the All Blacks prided themselves on but it had been a tricky night to make those sorts of calls.

Smith said the game was a similar to last year's first Test against France. It was never going to be pretty and that was something he had felt during the week.