YOKOHAMA, Japan (AP) — Even before the kickoff, England stole a march on defending champion New Zealand.
Respect for habitual All Blacks practice? Not only in this Rugby World Cup semifinal.
Reserve prop Joe Marler wasn’t the only England player standing on New Zealand’s aspect of halfway when the All Blacks played their renowned pre-match haka on Saturday, but he did not escape to his own side even when a match official gestured to him regarding his breach of conference.
After shocking the two-time defending champions with a try to Manu Tuilagi in the second minute, England didn’t retreat one bit. And four decades after being unceremoniously dropped out in the group phase of the World Cup it had been hosting, England reached its first closing in 12 years with a 19-7 mad over New Zealand.