England's captain Chris Robshaw lifts the Hillary Shield after defeating New Zealand. Photo: ADRIAN DENNIS
LONDON: England captain Chris Robshaw said the criticism the team had received following defeats by Australia and South Africa spurred them on to a record-breaking 38-21 victory over world champions New Zealand.
Saturday's Twickenham success was England's first win over the All Blacks in nine years and their largest margin of victory over New Zealand, surpassing the 13 point gap achieved in a 13-0 win back in 1936.
This victory also ended New Zealand's 20-match unbeaten run.
Robshaw, much criticised for his decision to go for goal with a late penalty against the Springboks, rather than opt for an attacking line-out that could have led to a match-winning try, was understandably delighted after what was only England's seventh win in 35 Tests against New Zealand dating back to 1905.
"People had written us off," Robshaw told Sky Sports.
"That fuelled the fire. Everyone ran out there and believed we could do it," the Harlequins openside flanker insisted.
He added: "We had a bit of luck. We had the bounce of the ball but to beat the world champions you need a bit of that."
Man-of-the-match Tom Wood, a colleague of Robshaw in an England back-row that excelled themselves against their New Zealand counterparts, said: "This is an absolutely brilliant day. We put our hearts and souls into that."
England had been criticised in the build-up to this match for being too predictable up front and lacking a cutting edged behind the scrum.
But three second-half tries from backs Brad Barritt, Manu Tuilagi and Chris Ashton, saw England simultaneously stun and delight a capacity Twickenham crowd of more than 81,000.
England coach Stuart Lancaster, asked what pleased him most about his youthful side's performance, said: "The way we mixed up our game. The scrum was good. The defence was outstanding."
His New Zealand counterpart, Steve Hansen, praised England's victory by saying: "I'd just like to congratulate England on a tremendous performance.
"They thoroughly deserved their victory and they should be very proud of what they've achieved. I thought they played some magnificent football."
He added: "To my own side, I'm very proud of what they've achieved. I know we've fallen over today, but once we get over the disappointment the boys should sit back and reflect on what they've done and done very well."