MATCH DETAILS: All Blacks vs England, Saturday 26 October, 5pm JST (9pm NZT), International Stadium Yokohama
Won: All Blacks 33, England 7
Last time: All Blacks 16, England 15 (10 November 2018)
Referee: Nigel Owens
The All Blacks have made a re-shuffle in the loose forwards due to the injury-enforced absence of flanker Matt Todd. Scott Barrett moves from the bench to the number six jersey with Ardie Savea switching to the openside and Sam Cane providing impact from the bench. The only change to the match-day 23 is lock Patrick Tuipulotu who comes onto the bench.
ROAD TO THE SEMIFINALS
The All Blacks and England have progressed through to the semifinals in remarkably similar fashion. Both teams qualified top of their pool with three convincing victories and one no result due to deadly Typhoon Hagibis. They then made easy work of their quarterfinal with England thumping Australia 40-16 and the All Blacks knocking over Ireland 46-14. Both teams are near the top of the tournament standings for tries scored with the All Blacks second on 29 tries and England fourth overall on 21 tries.
WORLD CUP HISTORY
The All Blacks and England have only met three times in Rugby World Cup history, with all three encounters coming in the 1990s. The All Blacks came out on top each time with wins in 1991 (18-12), 1995 (45-29) and 1999 (30-16)
With a place in the Rugby World Cup final on the line, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen says his side welcomes the pressure. “We’re really looking forward to this opportunity. It’s all about this game and the moments it will bring. In these moments, the word pressure is bandied around quite readily. However, that pressure is always there whenever you play quality opposition, regardless of who you are. It’s about how you handle that in the moment and not getting distracted by the past or the future,” Hansen said.
Win or lose, there will be special acknowledgement for All Blacks hooker Codie Taylor and England No.8 Billy Vunipola. Both players will run out for their 50th Test on Saturday night. Steve Hansen paid special tribute to Taylor. “On behalf of the players and management, we congratulate Codie on reaching this special milestone. You couldn’t ask for a better occasion to mark this,” Hansen said.
- Kieran Read will be captaining the All Blacks for the 51st time, equaling 1992-1997 All Blacks hooker Sean Fitzpatrick.
- The All Blacks have scored 985 Test points against England
- Brodie Retallick and Samuel Whitelock have had 46 wins as a starting second row pair, one behind the world record held by South African duo Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha
TEAMS (caps in brackets):
All Blacks: 1. Joe Moody (44) 2. Codie Taylor (49) 3. Nepo Laulala (24) 4. Brodie Retallick (79) 5. Samuel Whitelock (116) 6. Scott Barrett (34) 7. Ardie Savea (43) 8. Kieran Read - captain (125) 9. Aaron Smith (90) 10. Richie Mo’unga (15) 11. George Bridge (8) 12. Anton Lienert-Brown (41) 13. Jack Goodhue (12) 14. Sevu Reece (6) 15. Beauden Barrett (81)
Reserves: 16. Dane Coles (67) 17. Ofa Tuungafasi (34) 18. Angus Ta'avao (12) 19. Patrick Tuipulotu (28) 20. Sam Cane (66) 21. T J Perenara (63) 22. Sonny Bill Williams (56) 23. Jordie Barrett (15)
England: 1 Mako Vunipola (56) 2 Jamie George (43) 3 Kyle Sinckler (29) 4 Maro Itoje (32) 5 Courtney Lawes (79) 6 Tom Curry (17) 7 Sam Underhill (13) 8 Billy Vunipola (49) 9 Ben Youngs (93) 10 George Ford (63) 11 Jonny May (50) 12 Owen Farrell - captain (77) 13 Manu Tuilagi (38) 14 Anthony Watson (40) 15 Elliot Daly (37)
Reserves: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie (19) 17 Joe Marler (66) 18 Dan Cole (93) 19 George Kruis (39) 20 Mark Wilson (16) 21 Willi Heinz (8) 22 Henry Slade (25) 23 Jonathan Joseph (45)