New Zealand to provide shot clock for second Test after Damian McKenzie error

Damian McKenzie in training with New Zealand at 2023 Rugby World Cup Damian McKenzie allowed the shot clock to run down in Dunedin (Gareth Fuller/PA)

A shot clock will be in operation for England’s second Test against New Zealand in response to Damian McKenzie’s blunder that could have cost the All Blacks victory in the series opener.

McKenzie allowed the 60 seconds permitted to take a penalty to run down as he was lining up a late shot at goal that, if successful, would have propelled the hosts 19-15 in front at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

The oversight presented England with the opportunity to stage one final attack and, although they fell short, the potential cost of McKenzie’s mistake became a major talking point.

Referee Nika Amashukeli blew his whistle to indicate that the 60 seconds had elapsed but goalkickers are now to have sight of a countdown timer as England look to level the series at Eden Park on Saturday.

“NZ Rugby can confirm that there will be a shot clock shown on the stadium big screen and broadcast for this weekend’s Test match in Auckland. This will also be in place for all home Test matches in 2024,” a New Zealand Rugby statement said.

“The current process using the referee to communicate with the kicker has been successfully used in Super Rugby Pacific for the past two seasons and continues to be an effective way to monitor the time.”

George Furbank has been identified as England’s dangerman in attack as Steve Borthwick’s men conclude a mammoth 2023-24 season that began with World Cup preparation over a year ago.

Furbank replaced Freddie Steward at full-back during the Six Nations and has rewarded Borthwick with a series of dynamic displays.

Against the All Blacks in Dunedin he was a potent counter-attacking force, running dangerous lines and showing the power to break tackles, but was also robust in defence.

“Furbank was impressive, eh!” said his opposite number Stephen Perofeta, who was preferred ahead of Beauden Barrett as New Zealand’s full-back for the first Test.

“His running ability and his strength through the contact side of things was pretty good. It set England’s attack alight to be honest.

“That’s what we expected and it’s something that we will expect again this weekend.”

England and New Zealand will name their teams for the second of their two Tests in the early hours of Thursday morning.

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