LONDON (Reuters) - Reaction after England beat defending champions New Zealand 19-7 in the Rugby World Cup semi-final in Tokyo: (nL4N27B032)
ENGLAND COACH EDDIE JONES
“New Zealand are the gods of rugby so we had to take it to them and put them on the back foot as much as we could.
“We’ve earned another week in the competition, which is great. We’re excited about that. You come here eight weeks ago and you want to go right to the death.”
NEW ZEALAND COACH STEVE HANSEN
“Congratulations to England, they played a great game of footy. I’m really proud of our team but tonight we weren’t good enough, we need to take that on the chin.
“Hard to stomach but this is what happens in sport sometimes. Sometimes sport isn’t fair, but tonight it was.”
ENGLAND CAPTAIN OWEN FARRELL
“It’s a big game, a World Cup semi-final against the All Blacks... We prepared well, and started the game well. In all these big games, teams want to get physical from the off, and we wanted to play that way too.
“We have a number ways of playing, we have a big powerful pack but we wanted to play to space as well. It’s brilliant to get there, we’ll enjoy this and make sure we prepare well.”
ENGLAND LOCK, MAN OF THE MATCH MARO ITOJE
“In 2003, I was seven. I started playing in 2006. I remember watching the 2007 World Cup in my room with my brother on a little TV. I’m really honoured and privileged to be in this position right now,” he told the BBC.
“What I’m probably most happy about is how engaged the team was. They have threats everywhere, the minute you switch off they punish you and we have previous experience of that, we experienced that with their try, it was a good lesson for us.
“The goal was always to win the World Cup, we are one step closer to achieving that.”
ALL BLACK TJ PERENARA
“There wasn’t a point in that game that I thought it was out of reach. I always thought we had a chance. It’s tough, bro’.
“It’s polar opposites (to the 2015 World Cup). We fell short this time but it really hasn’t sunk in for me yet. It’s not a great feeling. We’ve got to give credit to a good English team.”
ENGLAND FLYHALF GEORGE FORD
“We have to keep our feet on the ground, we’ve got another opportunity to go again this week. It’s a credit to Eddie, he’s hugely experienced at his job. We love working with him. He’s an incredible coach, we’re very lucky to have him.
“The detail, planning, the way we train. That’s the most important thing, the way we prepare puts us in a good position to play at the weekend. We’ve not once stood still.”
ENGLAND FLANKER SAM UNDERHILL
“It’s a bit surreal at the moment, it’s an incredible achievement by the group. It probably won’t sink in until the week. I’m incredibly proud.
“(Eddie Jones) has been awesome, he’s been brilliant this week, he’s been really relaxed, and got more relaxed as the tournament has gone on.
“He doesn’t make things more complicated that they need to be. He genuinely cares about the group, the players and staff care about each other.”
ENGLAND CENTRE MANU TUILAGI
“It’s beyond my dreams to stand here and be in the final.”
On his try: “Our big boys did a lot of hard work for us. It’s a bit sneaky to be fair, to take the try off the forwards... We said all week we are playing the best side in the world and we can’t sit back, and it worked out for us.”
FORMER WORLD CUP WINNING FLYHALF JONNY WILKINSON
“Immense!! Individually and together as a team... immense! On to next week’s final. Can’t wait,” he wrote on Twitter.
FORMER WORLD CUP WINNING SCRUMHALF MATT DAWSON
“It was comprehensive,” he told the BBC. “We’re going to sound like arrogant Pommies here but from minute one, from the kick-off, from the haka, they were mentally in the right spot to throw something on the All Blacks.
“The pressure they put on New Zealand, you saw them start to crack. Where was Beauden Barrett, where was (Ardie) Savea, where was (Brodie) Retallick? That’s not a reflection on them, it’s a reflection on how well England played.”
FORMER SCOTLAND SCRUMHALF ANDY NICOL
“They closed New Zealand down individually and collectively for the full 80 minutes. They squeezed the life out of the All Blacks,” he told the BBC.
“It could have been an even greater scoreline. They absolutely nullified one of the most potent attacks in world rugby.”
NEW ZEALAND’S SONNY BILL WILLIAMS
“Congratulations to the @englandrugby team. Too good tonight lads, good luck at the big dance next week,” he wrote on Twitter.
ENGLAND AND HARLEQUINS SCRUMHALF DANNY CARE
“Most dominant @EnglandRugby performance of all time? If anything I think the score flattered the (All Blacks). Totally dominated. Congrats boys,” he wrote on Twitter.
STEPHEN JONES, THE TIMES RUGBY CORRESPONDENT
“This was one of England’s greatest sporting days - and I am not just talking rugby here. The planning, execution, defending and attacking of this breathtaking England team made it arguably their greatest day, a performance they will find hard to surpass if they win the final at the same venue next Saturday.”
ANDY BULL, THE GUARDIAN SENIOR SPORTS WRITER
“Maro Itoje had the game of his life. Itoje has always talked like a man who has had a sense of his own destiny, as he is sure he is bound for great things. On Saturday he achieved them.
“Itoje made 12 tackles, won seven lineouts, and three turnovers. But that does not tell you the half of it. He was a one-man highlights reel.”
MICK CLEARY, THE TELEGRAPH RUGBY CORRESPONDENT
“A Land of Hope and Glory now beckons for England, into a World Cup final with all those rich possibilities dangling in front of them.
“Eddie Jones wanted his side to create history by knocking New Zealand off their perch. And it wasn’t a nudge that they gave the All Blacks. It was a bloomin’ great wallop in the ribs, reducing the world’s most accomplished team to not just mere mortals but also-rans.
“The victory was more emphatic than the scoreboard indicates.”
Compiled by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru and Peter Hall in London
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