From haka to a Manu Tuilagi England try in 96 seconds, this was proof that this was going to be a game of reckoning. The smirk of England captain, Owen Farrell said it all during the haka, as his team lined up in a defiant V formation.
The New Zealand All Blacks are brutal adversaries, and this 19 – 7 victory by England put the Kiwis on the back foot from the beginning, bringing the team up to only their second win against the All Blacks in seventeen matches, and New Zealand’s first World Cup defeat in twelve years.
Despite more forward passes than a football match and thankfully no hospital passes, England breezed forward with brutal elegance, converting phenomenal kicks over the black dot, and amazing box kicks — England kicked 37 times and made 882 metres, while New Zealand kicked 28 times but made just 577 metres, assuring a dominance over the game from the get-go.
Tactically, England’s kicking technique dominated New Zealand, who were left floundering kicking off the back foot and under pressure. England won the territorial battle because by kicking off the front foot they dictated where the New Zealand back three had to go.
Overall, England were a tour de force, speed throwing, line breaking, pop passing, tactical kicking extravaganza that kept the All Blacks guessing throughout the game. No doubt, the finals, hopefully against Wales, will display another stellar performance.