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England v New Zealand 2013

England 22 - 30 New Zealand

The final match of the QBE Internationals 2013 saw England welcome an imperious New Zealand side to Twickenham for the showpiece final fixture of the Autumn series.

Clear blue skies set the tone for what would be a dazzling day of entertainment at the Home of English Rugby, as an exciting young England prepared to test themselves against the all-conquering All Blacks.

VIP guests arrived 3 hours before kick-off at the Orchard Enclosure - Twickenham’s finest official hospitality suite – to kick start a full day of exclusive entertainment.

Beaming hostesses greeted guests with champagne upon their arrival, as they were ushered to their reserved tables within the plush hospitality suite to get settled in for the day’s festivities.

With the facility gradually filled to capacity, the atmosphere began to build with kick-off within fast approaching.

As guests debated the game ahead, talk of England’s famous victory over New Zealand the previous year could be heard in hushed tones and the prospect of a repeat win against the World Champions was contemplated with cautious optimism.

To add to the pre-match chat, our MC for the day Gareth Chilcott introduced legendary All Blacks hooker and rugby pundit Sean Fitzpatrick to the audience, which was met with rapturous applause within the facility.

He entertained the crowd with great stories from his playing days, analysed the game ahead, and gave guests a unique insight into the atmosphere inside the All Blacks changing room.

A hearty four course dinner was soon served to our guests, whilst the pre-match build up featured on the plasma screens in the suite and our hostesses ensured the guests glasses were continually topped up.

The atmosphere reached fever pitch, as our MC then welcomed a legend of the game to the stage, the one and only Jonah Lomu. Guests were elated to have such a high profile superstar in their midst.

Jonah had guests captivated with tales of his time with the All Blacks’ and shared some of the moments that ensured his iconic status as one of World rugby’s greatest of all time.

Twickenham Stadium was rocking before kick-off with both sets of fans eager to propel their team towards victory, creating a buoyant atmosphere as the match got underway.

Both teams started at a relentless pace; England went ahead with an early penalty but the class of the All Blacks, unbeaten in 2013, soon shone through as they hit back in devastating style with tries from winger Julian Savea and Kieran Read.

In the past, an England side facing a 17 – 3 half time deficit against the All Blacks would have crumbled under the pressure, but this latest crop has more about them.

England came flying out of the blocks in the second half and capitalised with a try for Joe Launchbury and five successful penalties from Owen Farrell.

The noise inside Twickenham was deafening as England recovered to take a 22 – 20 lead against the World Champions, displaying the grit and determination that the crowd has been longing for with choruses of ‘Swing Low’ reverberating around the ground.

Despite England producing a spirited display, New Zealand showed why they are the most feared side in the World when Ma’a Nonu created an opening with an breath-taking offload to set Savea clear for his second try of the match, and New Zealand’s third.

The contest was finally ended with a penalty for the All Blacks which saw them depart Twickenham with a 30 – 22 victory, securing their 13th straight test win and maintaining their 100% record for 2013.

Despite the loss, guests returned to the Orchard Enclosure full of optimism for the games that lie ahead, following a half time score that could’ve seen an England team with less character capitulate.

Hot meals and more complimentary drinks we’re enjoyed in the hours following the game, and guests were treated to a guest appearance from England players Billy Twelvestrees and David Wilson, fresh from the field of play.

Both players discussed the mood in the dressing room following the match, the intensity of locking horns with the All Blacks on the Twickenham turf, and England’s prospects moving forward into the RBS Six Nations 2014.

They we’re given a superb reception for their efforts on the field, bringing a fabulous day of rugby hospitality and indeed the 2013 Autumn international series at Twickenham to a close in fitting style.

Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa. Attendance: 81,739.

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