TOKYO, 26 Oct - England's dominance over the All Blacks in Saturday's semi-final was founded on continual turnovers. 

England won 16 to New Zealand's five, with 11 coming in the All Blacks' half. Eight of England's starting XV won turnovers. Player of the Match Maro Itoje topped the list with three.

This gave England opportunities to keep the scoreboard ticking over and stopped New Zealand from attacking in dangerous areas.

The All Blacks entered England's 22 on only three occasions in the first 70 minutes, with two of those out wide where the ball carrier was pushed out.

England were able to build on a crucial early score, thus avoiding the first trap of playing New Zealand. When their opponents fail to clock up early points, the All Blacks start to build a lead, which few teams are capable of overturning.

England did that against New Zealand in November 2018, when Chris Ashton scored the opening try in the second minute. They increased their advantage to 15 points without reply in the first 25 minutes, yet still could not secure the win.

The All Blacks clawed the score back to 15-10 in the last two minutes of the first half and edged in front on the hour, with the final score remaining at 16-15.

In Saturday's semi-final, England's early lead was the springboard to dominating the match.

They opened the scoring almost before New Zealand had had a chance to touch the ball.

England had a lineout around halfway after the initial kick-off was cleared and worked it to the right. New Zealand missed a tackle on Elliot Daly on England's third phase, and Daly passed to Anthony Watson. His break took England into the 22 for the first time, below.


England worked the ball to the left and got within 5m of the line after two more phases of forward carries.

After they took the ball to within a couple of metres of the line on one more phase, Manu Tuilagi was quickest to see a gap and dive over the line.

It was England's only try of the match but set an early tempo for the game.

England dominated the opening 25 minutes, just as they did a year ago. They had seven entries into the New Zealand 22 but failed to score any more points, with Ben Youngs's touchdown disallowed on the seventh of these entries.

A 7-0 lead was a poor reflection of England's authority.

New Zealand scored their try in the 57th minute after an England error at the lineout, which came from only the second Kiwi entry into England's 22. Other than that, the All Blacks never really threatened the try-line.

It used to be New Zealand who set the match tempo with early forays into the opposition 22, but England may have staked a claim on that crown.

RNS sdg/ar