The key battles that will decide England vs New Zealand’s Rugby World Cup semi-final clash – The Sun

ENGLAND face New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup semi-final on Saturday morning with the winners to face either South Africa or Wales in the final.

Here SunSport's Jonny Fordham discusses the key battles that will decide who wins between the Red Rose and the All Blacks.


EDDIE JONES and Steve Hansen share the record for the most consecutive Test wins in a row.

They go head-to-head for just the second time in their current jobs.

There is no doubt that this semi-final feels bigger than whoever will get to next week's finale.

And if Jones can finally get one over Hansen as England boss it will go down as probably the second-best win by any Twickenham chief in history.


KAMIKAZE KIDS Tom Curry and Sam Underhill, or Cunderhill as they are now known, are up against the grandfather of the breakdown Keiran Read.

But these new kids on the block have proven that they are world class jackals and turnover kings – and New Zealand are without their own ball thief, Sam Cane, who drops to the bench.

Australia's David Pocock and Michael Hooper were dispatched with ease in the quarterfinal.

So if the odd couple can get through this one, the changing of the guard and the new world order will be complete.


THE KIWI pack is crammed full of lineout jumpers.

With second row Scott Barrett picked to play at no.6, it means they now have FOUR genuine options for hooker Codie Taylor to aim at.

England will hope that Maro Itoje and Courtney Lawes can boss this area against their engine room sparring partners of Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock.

And England's Tom Curry will also have to show just how far his own jumping credentials have come against one of the best quartets in the business.


GEORGE FORD is back in for his superb tactical kicking game.

The England fly-half squeezed USA into surrendering and his pin-point boot will be a deadly weapon in forcing the All Blacks to retreat in Yokohama.

Getting New Zealand going backwards and forcing them to play in their own half is exactly wheat Steve Hansen's back-to-back world champs hate.

Keeping them out of the England danger zones also means that Owen Farrell will have more chances of kicking three-pointers if they can get them to cough up penalties.

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