Rugby World Cup 2019: World media reacts to All Blacks' semi-final defeat to England

The All Blacks' reign as world champions is over after losing to England 19-7 in the semi-finals at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan. 

The game was expected to be an epic contest, and it proved to be so. England came out firing and scored the game's opening try after only two minutes, which rattled the All Blacks. 

New Zealand never recovered, and their quest for a World Cup three-peat came to an end. 

Tom Fordyce - BBC

 

"This time, against New Zealand in a stone-cold World Cup classic, there was no need to go to boundaries scored.

If England have ever produced a better 80 minutes of rugby union then no one dancing round Yokohama or screaming the sofas down back home could care to remember it.

"It was supposed to be close. It was supposed to be the All Blacks, because it is almost always the All Blacks, going back through the years at Twickenham and Auckland and all points in between.

"And yet it was comfortable, in an excruciating sort of way, if you ignore the dread tension of being up and ahead from the second minute against a side who routinely make late comebacks like other teams make touch.

Rugby World Cup 2019: World media reacts to All Blacks' semi-final defeat to England

"From the first minute to the last England were demonstrably the superior team. There's a decent argument they also won the time before then too; when you can stare down the haka and grin, as Owen Farrell did, or stroll towards it like a man off to the bar, as Joe Marler did. There was no fear when so many down the years have quaked.

"Never before have New Zealand conceded a World Cup try as early as Manu Tuilagi's second-minute score. Only once before have they been kept scoreless in the first half of a World Cup match.

"To tip the All Blacks from their throne, even the most ebullient among England's support thought half their team would have to produce the finest performance of their lives."

Stephen Jones - The Times

 

"This was one of England's greatest sporting days - and I am not just talking rugby here. The planning, execution, defending and attacking of this breathtaking England team made it arguably their greatest day, a performance they will find hard to surpass if they win the final at the same venue next Saturday.

"New Zealand lose occasionally, but they are never crushed. So this was a glorious first. Forget the scoreboard. They scored one lucky try and for the rest of the evening they looked like little boys being bullied outside the sweet shop. They were lucky not to lose players to the bin and there was a time when Marius Jonker, the TMO, was a far bigger danger to England than the opposition.

"Sam Underhill and Tom Curry, the flankers, cannot play that well twice in two games, surely. Well, maybe you can. They did. The England defence was stunning with Maro Itoje and Manu Tuilagi off the planet."

Dave Kitson - The Guardian

 

"Not since the 2003 Rugby World Cup has English rugby enjoyed a more stunning or significant moment. The national team are into their first final for 12 years but the manner in which Eddie Jones's side left New Zealand strewn on the canvas was as striking as the 19-7 scoreline.

"The All Blacks' dreams of becoming the first team to win three consecutive Webb Ellis Cups were not so much dashed as smashed.

England's Mark Wilson celebrates the win over New Zealand.
England's Mark Wilson celebrates the win over New Zealand. Photo credit: Photosport

"As well as delivering New Zealand's first loss in 19 World Cup matches dating back to the 2007 quarter-finals, this was the equal of any England performance in modern times.

"The All Blacks, so dominant in the tournament en route to the last four, could cope with neither the power at England's disposal nor their defensive strength and tactical acumen."

Mick Cleary - The Telegraph

 

"O, William Webb Ellis, O, William Shakespeare, O, Winston Churchill - your boys did you proud. A 'Land of Hope and Glory' now beckons for England, into a World Cup final with all those rich possibilities dangling in front of them. Eddie Jones wanted his side to create history by knocking New Zealand off their perch.

"And it wasn't a nudge that they gave the All Blacks. It was a bloomin' great wallop in the ribs, reducing the world's most accomplished team to not just mere mortals but also-rans. The victory was more emphatic than the scoreboard indicates.

"Eddie Jones wanted his side to create history by knocking New Zealand off their perch. And it wasn't a nudge that they gave the All Blacks. It was a bloomin' great wallop in the ribs, reducing the world's most accomplished team to not just mere mortals but also-rans. The victory was more emphatic than the scoreboard indicates.

"This was a defining performance, full of grit and cleverness and heart, England's finest ever victory. Of course it is only a semi-final. Of course, there is another massive hurdle to try and clamber over."

Jack de Menezes - The Independent

 

"Eddie Jones's side out-tackled, out-thought and out-fought the All Blacks with a performance rarely seen against the three-time world champions, with Manu Tuilagi's second-minute try setting the tone for what was close to the complete display. With Owen Farrell shackled by a knee injury sustained early on, George Ford justified his return to the squad with four successful penalties to keep them out of the All Blacks' clutches.

"Led by the inspiring young back-row duo of Tom Curry and Sam Underhill, England tore New Zealand's game plan apart, preventing them from mustering anything close to what is normally witnessed by this great side. It was fitting that New Zealand's only try - which took 57 minutes to come through Ardie Savea - was handed to them by a malfunctioning England lineout. 

"But remarkable England never looked to be in trouble, even when the game was still in the balance. The victory margin was 12 points in the end, but it should have been far, far more, with Ben Youngs having a try dubiously chalked off and Underhill also having his own score ruled out. It may not have been a humiliating scoreline, but the gulf between the two performances could not have been any bigger.

"England have told us again and again and again that they have something up their sleeve for this game - one that Jones has targeted since the day two-and-a-half years ago when the likely paths plotted this side against the best in the world.

"But no one could have expected what took place in the first five minutes of this match. As soon as Billy Vunipola and Joe Marler made their way across the halfway line, you knew something special was on - and the match had not even started. The English way is to not challenge the haka, be respectful, stand there and accept the challenge like a man. But England were here to re-write the script."

Nik Simon - Daily Mail

 

"From the moment Owen Farrell stepped in front of the haka and broke into a twisted smile, everyone in the Yokohama Stadium knew that something was brewing.

"Farrell does not smile at the best of times, but he winked at Aaron Smith, the All Black scrum-half, with the look of someone ready to carry out an act of treason.

"England's players formed a 'V' around their captain, with Billy Vunipola and Joe Marler creeping over the halfway line into opposition territory.

These sorts of things have backfired in the past but, on a famous night in Yokohama, England got everything right. The All Blacks did not know where to look.

"What followed was arguably England's greatest 80-minute performance in history. Standards have risen since 2003, and New Zealand had not lost a World Cup game for 4,403 days.

It was an exhibition of power, precision, turnovers and outright destruction at the gain-line.

"The likes of Kieran Read and Brodie Retallick were reduced to a battered, bruised and bloodied rabble. 'Crash, bang, wallop,' went the sound of the All Blacks being smashed off their pedestal into next week." 

Essential Guide to 2019 Rugby World Cup

Everything you need to know about rugby and the World Cup...

The ninth Rugby World Cup kicks off on September 20 in Japan - the first time it has been hosted in Asia.

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