The Latest: Hansen says All Blacks ‘were not good enough’
YOKOHAMA, Japan (AP) — The Latest on Saturday at the Rugby World Cup in Japan (all times local):
New Zealand coach Steve Hansen said his players “were not good enough” in the 19-7 loss to England in the semifinals.
Hansen says “congratulations to England, they played a tremendous game of footy and deserved to win. You cannot give them half a step, but they took it.”
It was a first loss for the All Blacks at a World Cup since 2007.
Hansen, who was assistant coach when New Zealand won the World Cup in 2011 and head coach for the 2015 triumph, says “I am really proud of our team, they have done a tremendous job, but we were not good enough. We take it on the chin, the boys tried their guts out and I am proud of them.”
England has beaten New Zealand 19-7 in a dominant performance in the Rugby World Cup semifinals, ending the All Blacks’ hopes of an unprecedented third straight title.
The English reached a first final since 2007, and will play either Wales or South Africa.
It was New Zealand’s first loss at the World Cup since the quarterfinals in 2007.
England was never behind after scoring second-minute converted try through center Manu Tuilagi. Flyhalf George Ford kicked four penalties.
New Zealand was overwhelmed in almost every aspect of the game, with even its try coming from an England mistake when Jamie George overthrew at a lineout. Ardie Savea collected and crossed the line.
England goes looking for its second world title, after 2003.
For the second time in the match, England has had a try disallowed by the TMO.
This time, an England player was adjudged to have lost the ball forward at the back of a rolling maul before it was retrieved by a teammate in front and fed to scrumhalf Ben Youngs, who sent a dummy and went over for a try.
After a long look, the 46th-minute try was ruled out for offside.
However, England flyhalf George Ford kicked a penalty three minutes later to put his team 13-0 ahead against the All Blacks.
England leads New Zealand 10-0 at halftime of their semifinal match at the Rugby World Cup after scoring the quickest ever try against the All Blacks in the 32-year history of the tournament.
Manu Tuilagi crashed over the line inside two minutes for a try that was converted Owen Farrell in a furious start by the English, playing in their first World Cup semifinal in 12 years.
George Ford then kicked a 40th-minute penalty to stretch the lead.
England’s players pinched two balls at New Zealand lineouts, won a penalty at a scrum, had the better of the breakdown and were delivering some huge hits at International Stadium.
Flanker Sam Underhill was having a huge game and thought he’d scored a try for England in the 25th minute. It went to the TMO and it was scrubbed when flanker Tom Curry was penalized for crossing in the build-up.
Some of England’s players ignored convention and stood in New Zealand’s half during the All Blacks’ pre-match haka.
Match officials appeared to tell some of the Englishmen to get back into their own half but the haka continued nonetheless.
The first semifinal got underway with England flyhalf Owen Farrell taking the kickoff in mild early-evening conditions — and England had scored a try inside two minutes through Manu Tuilagi.
There is less than an hour before kickoff in the first semifinal and England’s kickers are getting in some practice, with Elliot Daly — the taker of the team’s long-range goals — booting over two in a row from beyond the halfway line.
One interested observer was All Blacks coach Steve Hansen, who was right next to Daly when he stroked over the second of his kicks.
Dressed in a dark suit, Hansen has been watching England warm up for some time now and not just paying attention to his own players.
Hansen is leaving his post after this World Cup, so there’s a possibility this is the last game of significance in his All Blacks tenure. In his eight years in charge, New Zealand has won 92 of its 105 games — a winning record of 89.45%.
South Africa has only won one of its last 10 test matches refereed by Jerome Garces. It was Garces, no less, who was the whistler when the Springboks lost to Japan in the so-called “Miracle of Brighton” at the Rugby World Cup in 2015.
So imagine the concern in South Africa when the French referee was appointed to handle the Springboks’ semifinal match against Wales on Sunday.
“It’s important we dominate on attack and defense, so we don’t get the short end of the stick,” said South Africa captain Siya Kolisi, when asked about how the team will communicate with Garces during the game.
Garces was the referee for the Springboks’ 23-13 loss to New Zealand in the pool stage, their only defeat in 2019, and there was criticism back in South Africa at some of his decisions.
There has even been a petition set up by a Springboks fan on Change.org to stop Garces being the referee on Sunday. It was entitled, “Stop Jerome Garces, give us Nigel Owens” — a reference to the Welsh referee taking charge of the England-New Zealand semifinal.
“The most important thing is that we have learnt from that game (against New Zealand in the pool stage), and we are definitely a better team than we were at that time,” Kolisi said. “All those errors, you can blame the referee as much as you want, but there is some stuff you want to fix as well.”
Defending champion New Zealand and England are preparing to play off for a place in the Rugby World Cup final.
New Zealand hasn’t lost a World Cup game since a quarterfinal defeat to France in 2007, is aiming for an unprecedented third consecutive title and takes a six-game winning streak against England into Saturday’s semifinal. No other team has won two World Cups in a row.
England is aiming to reach the final for the first time since 2007, when it lost to South Africa. England was eliminated in the quarterfinals in 2011 and failed to make it out of the group stage in 2015 in the tournament it was hosting.
England’s extra-time victory over Australia in the 2003 final is the only Rugby World Cup title won by a team from the northern hemisphere.
South Africa and Wales meet Sunday in the other semifinal.