England captain Jamie George reflected on the fine margins that allowed New Zealand to claim a 16-15 victory in their series opener in Dunedin.

The tourists led 15-10 when Marcus Smith conjured a try for Immanuel Feyi-Waboso in the 47th minute but two penalties from Damian McKenzie saved the All Blacks from an upset at Forsyth Barr Stadium on Saturday.

Smith missed eight points from the kicking tee, including one penalty almost in front of the posts, as England fell just short on a day when a famous victory was there for the taking.

“First and foremost I’m very proud of this team. Not a lot of teams come to New Zealand and do that and that shows a huge amount of growth in this team,” the Welwyn Garden City-born skipper told Sky Sports.

“We wanted to make people back home very proud and I think we did that with our effort. It was very fine margins.

“There are definitely some areas to look at – scrum is one, breakdown is probably another.

“We’ll do a lot of honest work this week and make sure we go to Eden Park fully prepared. We’ll learn and we’ll grow and we’ll get better.

“We’ve got to learn fast, which is something we pride ourselves on. We’ll be as prepared as we possibly can be. There will be a few sore bodies.

“We have to get the bodies and the minds right because this is a really exciting week for us.”

England were kept in the first half by their tenacious defending and having crept ahead through Feyi-Waboso, they then became locked in a furious tussle for control of the first Test.

“It was fine margins, two tries apiece. There wasn’t much in that at all,” head coach Steve Borthwick said.

“The second half was a real arm wrestle in the middle of the field. Neither team got into the opposition 22 very often. There wasn’t much in it.

“Immense credit to New Zealand for taking their opportunities and getting over the line in the end. The New Zealand bench was very good and played a very smart second half.”

The All Blacks were playing their first Test since losing the World Cup final to South Africa in October and skipper Scott Barrett admitted it took time to find their feet.

“I’m proud of a group that came together in 10 days and played a pretty sharp England side,” Barrett said.

“Within that 80 minutes was bit of a reminder of what Test match footy is about.

“There were arm wrestles everywhere – set-piece, scrum battle, breakdown. Different layers of pressure. We adapted pretty well to the game and managed to get back in it and get back in front.”