England (14) 21

Try: May, Penalty try

Pens: Farrell 3

Conversion: Ford

New Zealand (11) 24

Try: Cruden, McCaw, Faumuina

Pens: Cruden 2, Barrett

Richie McCaw
McCaw's try capped a man of the match performance from the New Zealand captain.Getty Images

New Zealand landed a psychological blow to England to secure their fourth win of 2014 and lay down a marker ahead of the World Cup with a dogged display at a sodden Twickenham.

Jonny May stormed through for his first England try after just five minutes but despite three penalties from Owen Farrell the All Blacks flexed their muscle to stage a rousing second half comeback.

Aaron Cruden's first half try had put New Zealand without touching distance at the break but captain Richie McCaw and Charlie Faumuina's close range finishes, either side of Dane Coles' sin bin, kept England at bay.

And though England began the game in free-flowing fashion the ease at which New Zealand cruised to a seventh win in eight meetings between the two nations will surely not be lost on coach Stuart Lancaster 10 months removed from the World Cup.

An injury-ravaged England handed a debut to Fijian-born Semesa Rokodoguni of Bath while Dave Attwood came in at second row after the birth of his first child in mid-week.

Without as many as eight first team players including Joe Launchbury and Manu Tuilagi, England faced a world No.1 New Zealand side who were being considered as one of the greatest teams in sporting history.

Though unable to select the injured Ma'a Nonu, Sonny Bill Williams and Cruden came into an All Blacks 23 which even without fly-half Dan Carter dwarfed their opponents in terms of experience with over 1,000 international caps among them.

Despite having lost just twice in 39 matches since claiming the World Cup in 2011 and won all three tests during the summer series between the two nations, Steve Hansen's side faced a genuine examination of their claim to being overwhelming favourites to defend their crown next year.

And the reality of their challenge became clear within five minutes as May ghosted through, passed Israel Dagg and touched down for his first international try to send Twickenham to euphoria.

Mike Brown spurned the chance to increase the lead and England were punished for their lack of cutting edge as Cruden went over after Ben Smith beat May to a hanging kick.

Two Farrell penalties restored the hosts' lead, before Cruden took advantage of a late Dylan Hartley hit, amid Courtney Lawes joining England's injury list after being replaced by debutant George Kruis.

Further England indiscipline allowed Cruden to end a scrappy period of play by leveling the scores but only momentarily as Farrell put the home side back in front after another New Zealand offside.

Cruden struck the post from penalty after the restart but the world No.1 ranked nation wouldn't have to wait long to restore parity as captain McCaw went over after a sublime series of phases.

But the visitors' grip on proceedings loosened when Coles was sin-binned for kicking out at Chris Robshaw, leading to yellow card and opening the door for England to force their back into a game that was threatening to pass them by.

The numerical advantage only worked to inspire Hansen's team and replacement Beauden Barrett converted the second of successive penalties before replacement Faumuina's try stretched their advantage to 10 points.

A penalty try in the final minute gave England hope but they were unable to mount one final attack as New Zealand ground out a deserved victory, their fifth in a row over Lancaster's side, who will look to bounce back against South Africa next week.