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Rugby union: talking points from the second round of autumn Tests


England take heart from All Blacks defeat, Springboks’ power will test Scotland’s growing optimism and Italy prove a point

In 2012 England also went 15-0 up on New Zealand at Twickenham and went on to win 38-21. This time they could not score a point after the 25th minute, instead allowing the All Blacks to snatch a 16-15 victory in a classic encounter of its type. Which team, though, is on the steeper upward curve? If the heavy rain was a leveller, there was no disguising the fact England, after a tough year, are on the way back. They now know they can ruffle the All Blacks, even with a patched-up pack, and South Africa’s two shuddering recent games against New Zealand also showed the world’s No 1 side are not invincible. Brodie Retallick may have had the last laugh at Twickenham but the All Black pack will have to dig deep again to avoid being ambushed in Dublin on Saturday. Robert Kitson

Related: Eddie Jones calls on England to ‘physically smash cheeky Japan’

Related: Steve Hansen declares Ireland Test decider for world’s best team

Team of the weekend

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