After two consecutive wins, the All Blacks will not defend their title. They lost (19-7) against the English, Saturday in Yokohama.
They lost. It seems incredible enough to write it so raw. Brute like this defeat in World Cup, where the All Blacks had not conceded the least defeat for twelve years already; where they remained on two consecutive titles; and where they were still favorites of this edition in Japan. Until this semi-final lost against England (19-7), Saturday, October 26, under the already dark sky of Yokohama.
Statistics could be long overdue. Tell the shock of this match through its speed, a crazy rhythm. Describe all the points made before those of today. But there is perhaps more speaking: these faces of All Blacks dropped in full match, these hands on the elbows to blow, as so many signs of a team in great pain.
Think: Until then, the New Zealanders had the best average in all since the start of this World Cup. The highest number of points scored per match (51), the highest number of tries (7), the number of balls shot in hand (642) …
But it was before this semifinal. Before running into this coach, Eddie Jones, Australian-American-Japanese coach … of England. Throughout the match, the two giant screens showed him standing in the stands, when his assistants were seated. Standing to best follow the execution of his game plan, the only able to foil these All Blacks, the only one to make them lose what New Zealanders had most valuable: their coolness in the world. 'effort.
"First, I want to congratulate the English, who made a very big game and deserve their victory today," Steve Hansen, the New Zealand coach, reacted immediately, not without fair play. And to continue, in press conference, mine shot down:
"We can not afford to let them half a meter in advance because they will enjoy it. (…) Tonight, we have not been good enough, we will have to cash it with dignity, and the same goes for everyone in the country, our supporters. "
62% possession and 69% land occupation
Forgiveness for tautology, but if the New Zealanders lost, it is especially that the English won. Their machinations also took their audience by surprise, without even giving him time to repeat his vocalizations too much. No time either to be impressed by the traditional haka of the All Blacks.
From the second minute of play, first English test: percussion powerful center Manu Tuilagi, then captain Owen Farrell transformation. The latter played this time three-quarter center to better leave the role of opener to George Ford, which, he entered the necessary penalties: one just before half-time, then three more in the second half. Sufficient to keep New Zealand away despite an attempt by Ardie Savea in the second half (57th minute, 13-7), after an English misunderstanding in touch.
At the break, already 10-0 in the score, 62% possession and 69% land occupation for England. And fouls of hands, balloons lost in touch, an unusual feverish side All Blacks.
Four years after an elimination at home
The most successful country in nine editions, New Zealand will remain so for this year to three awards: that of the first edition of the World (1987) and the last two in date (2011 and 2015).
England, the only country in the northern hemisphere to have won the competition once (2003), is back to the semi-finals for the first time since 2007. Four years, especially, after a first-round elimination of "her" World Cup 2015 ; a sad first for a country organizing the event.
The XV de la Rose will face in the final the winner of the other semifinal, scheduled Sunday, October 26, between South Africa and Wales. Final scheduled in this same stadium of Yokohama. But without the All Blacks, despite the predictions accumulated in recent months.