Rugby | England stun All Blacks to reach final

England have beaten New Zealand 19-7 to reach the Rugby World Cup final.

Manu Tuilagi’s second minute try set the tone for the English, who inflicted the All Blacks’ first defeat in the tournament since 2007.

New Zealand threatened a comeback when Ardie Savea notched a try in the second half at Nissan Stadium, but 12 points from George Ford kept England in the driving seat in Yokohama.

Eddie Jones’ men were better in every department from the outset, and were fully worthy of their stunning victory.

Before the game, England cheekily formed a V formation while their opponents performed the Haka.

It started with Owen Farrell’s smirk, and England ensured they had the last laugh in Yokahama.

England made the perfect start, recording the game’s first try within 97 seconds through Tuilagi.

The 28-year-old dived over the line from close range after an excellent move from England, and Farrell converted to make it 7-0 after just three minutes.

England’s physicality was breath-taking, and Jones’ side piled the pressure on the uncharacteristically beleaguered All Blacks in the opening quarter.

Desperate recoveries from Jack Goodhue and Scott Barrett denied England from adding to their early lead.

Sam Underhill then had a try ruled out in the 25th minute following a tense and lengthy TMO review, with the officials eventually ruling that Tom Curry had caused an infringement in the buildup.

England were awarded a penalty just before the interval after All Blacks duo Goodhue and Scott Barrett were penalized for coming in at the side while attempting to stop the rampaging Underhill.

With Farrell suffering a knock to the leg, Ford assumed kicking duties.

The 26-year-old split the posts from 45 metres to give the Europeans a 10-0 lead at the break.

England ended the first half with 58% of the possession and 70% of territory.

New Zealand’s performance was strewn with unforced errors and rash decision-making, and Steve Hansen’s men seemed rattled by England’s physicality.

The reigning world champions, who had beaten England in 25 of their previous 16 encounters, looked a shadow of their normal selves.

They had rarely threatened to break through England’s dogged and physical defence, and had failed to score in the first half of a World Cup match for the first time since 1991.

New Zealand had overturned a 15-0 deficit to win 16-15 in the countries’ last meeting in Twickenham, but there was to be no repeat of this feat in Yokohama.

Elliot Daly’s long-range penalty drifted narrowly wide of the posts early in the second half as England picked up where they left off.

Six minutes into the second half, England thought they had their second try when Ben Youngs spotted a gap, produced a delightful dummy, and danced over the whitewash.

However, a TMO review ruled the try out due to a knock on during England’s rolling maul seconds earlier.

Ford extended England’s lead to 13-0 with a 50th-minute penalty after Sam Cane tackled Billy Vunipola illegally off the ball.

Savea’s try gave New Zealand a lifeline seven minutes later; the All Blacks benefiting from a calamitous English error.

Henry Slade drove Savu Reece into touch wide on the right, with the England player surviving a TMO review for a potential no-arms tackle as he prevented Reece from diving over in the corner.

Jamie George got the resulting five-metre lineout all wrong, over-cooking his pass to give Savea a simple finish from close range.

Richie Mo’unga added a conversion to reduce England’s lead to 13-7.

England’s immediate response was admirable, with Underhill’s gargantuan tackle on Jordie Barrett forcing a turnover in New Zealand’s 22.

The All Blacks were punished for another infringement soon afterwards, and Ford duly registered his third penalty of the match to make it 16-7.

In the 70th minute, another Ford penalty extended England’s lead to 12 points, and the European nation held out – thanks to some huge tackles and inspiring turnovers – to secure a famous victory.

England forced 16 turnovers in total, while the All Blacks made just five.

“New Zealand are the God of rugby, so we had to take it to them,” Jones said afterwards.

“We wanted to take it to them and show we could take the game to them, try to put them on the back foot as much as we could.”

England will now face the winners of South Africa and Wales in the final next week.