England defeated New Zealand 19-7 in Saturday’s semi-final match of the Rugby World Cup.
To defeat the defending champions who had not lost a World Cup match since the 2007 quarter-finals, England had to produce one of their greatest performances.
After showing their intent not to buy into the ‘All Black aura’ by defying the officials and lining up against the Haka in a V formation, England backed it up once the whistle had sounded, scoring a brilliant try through Manu Tuilagi in the second minute after a sustained, high-paced assault that swept the width of the pitch.
I believe we can create history in Japan.
England then built their lead through the brilliant goalkicking of recalled flyhalf George Ford. New Zealand, who had won 15 of the teams’ last 16 meetings, barely threatened and managed only a gift of a try by flanker Ardie Savea.
The victory swept England into their fourth final and first since 2007, where they will seek their second victory after 2003 when they became the first, and still only, northern hemisphere country to triumph.
England awaits the winner of Sunday’s South Africa vs Wales semi-final, to contest the November 2 final.
Changes to Boks, Wales squads
South Africa have made just one change to the squad that beat Japan, ahead of Sunday’s semi-final clash against Wales.
Coach Rassie Erasmus said on Thursday that Springboks winger Cheslin Kolbe has been ruled out because of an ankle injury, and will be replaced by S’Busiso Nkosi.
Kolbe, one of the standout players of the tournament, missed South Africa’s pool match against Canada with an ankle problem and had to leave the field in the latter stages in the quarter-final victory over Japan.
“It’s a big blow, but if you look at his last game, his ankle definitely affected his performance and we just thought a fully fit S’Busiso would be better,” Erasmus said.
Team: 15-Willie le Roux, 14-S’Busiso Nkosi, 13-Lukhanyo Am, 12-Damian de Allende, 11-Makazole Mapimpi, 10-Handre Pollard, 9-Faf de Klerk, 8-Duane Vermeulen, 7-Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6-Siya Kolisi, 5-Lood de Jager, 4-Eben Etzebeth, 3-Frans Malherbe, 2-Bongi Mbonambi, 1-Tendai Mtawarira
Replacements: 16-Malcolm Marx, 17-Steven Kitshoff, 18-Vincent Koch, 19-RG Snyman, 20-Franco Mostert, 21-Francois Louw, 22-Herschel Jantjies, 23-Frans Steyn.
Wales also made injury-forced changes to their squad ahead of Sunday’s crucial match.
The Welsh Rugby Union said on Tuesday it would call up up winger Owen Lane as an injury replacement for loose forward Josh Navidi. Number eight Navidi injured his hamstring in the quarter-final victory over France on Sunday and was ruled out for the rest of the tournament on Monday.
Lane can play on the wing or in the centres, where Wales have a number of injury concerns after Jonathan Davies missed the France match with a knee injury and with Hadleigh Parkes nursing shoulder and finger problems.
The 21-year-old Cardiff Blues back made his test debut against Ireland in Cardiff in late August, scoring Wales’s first try in the 22-17 loss. He arrived in Japan on Tuesday in plenty of time for Sunday’s match.
— Welsh Rugby Union 🏉 (@WelshRugbyUnion) October 25, 2019
The winner of Sunday’s semi-final will meet either England or New Zealand in the Nov. 2 World Cup final.