The lowdown on England’s stunning victory over the All Blacks
England surged into the World Cup final with a remarkable 19-7 victory over New Zealand at International Stadium Yokohama.
Here, the PA news agency looks at the questions and answers around the win.
So what happened?
England produced a performance that could convincingly be argued as the greatest in the nation’s rugby history. The scoreline may read 19-7 but victory was far more convincing with tries by Sam Underhill and Ben Youngs disallowed and another couple squandered. It is hard to recall New Zealand ever being dominated in this way.
Were England outstanding or New Zealand poor?
Undoubtedly the former. England’s relentless ferocity that began from the kick-off stunned the All Blacks and they never recovered. Every time they tried to step up a gear – their calling card – they were met by an unyielding white wall. And while they were gifted Ardie Savea’s try, England bristled with attacking threats.
Where was the game won?
Every single facet of the game was dominated by Eddie Jones’ men, from set-piece to breakdown, from discipline to defence. It was an onslaught that came from all directions, making double world champions New Zealand look ordinary.
What was the impact of facing down the Haka?
It was symbolic, but evidence of a steely resistance and willingness to confront what was coming. England formed a V-shape to greet the arrowhead formation of the Haka, thereby appearing to envelope it. It was dramatic theatre that was backed up by a staggering start in which Manu Tuilagi scored after only 97 seconds.
What about New Zealand’s tactics?
Playing a lock at blindside flanker in Scott Barrett was a fatal error as the line-out was pulled apart by England despite having the extra jumper. It also enabled Maro Itoje, Underhill and Tom Curry to dominate the breakdown, thereby conceding a key foothold in the game. Coach Steve Hansen effectively admitted that he had got the tactics wrong.
So what happens now?
South Africa and Wales clash in the second semi-final on Sunday and England will meet the winners. Having smashed the All Blacks, they will enter the Yokohama showdown as favourites.