Manu Tuilagi's early try set the tone as England shattered New Zealand's hopes of winning an unprecedented third consecutive Rugby World Cup and moved into the final with a famous 19-7 victory.

England dominated the out-of-sorts All Blacks at International Stadium Yokohama on Saturday to set up a showdown with South Africa or Wales at the same venue next weekend.

Tuilagi touched down for a try that Owen Farrell converted inside two minutes and George Ford's penalty just before the break put Eddie Jones' inspired side 10-0 up at half-time.

The defending champions never really got going in an error-strewn display and although Ardie Savea's try gave them hope, another three penalties from the excellent Ford kept England in command.

England – who also had tries from Sam Underhill and Ben Youngs ruled out – were lively in attack and outstanding in defence, sealing a first win over New Zealand for seven years and a maiden World Cup triumph over the holders to replace them at the top of the rankings.

New Zealand's first World Cup loss since 2007 ensured there will be no dream swansong for head coach Steve Hansen, while captain Kieran Read will end his stellar Test career with a third-place play-off.

Arno Botha scored in the last minute to secure a bonus-point 28-12 win for Munster in their Pro14 clash with Ospreys on Friday.

Munster edged a cagey first half 7-6 after a James Cronin try, but the Irish side swiftly took the game away from their Welsh visitors after the interval.

Having been reduced to 14 men when Sam Cross was sin-binned, Ospreys crumbled early in the second half – Rhys Marshall driving over.

Ospreys hit back through Luke Price's penalty, but Mike Haley's try saw Munster swiftly regain control.

Another Price penalty saw Ospreys move into double figures, yet even as Cross returned, there was no let-up from the home side as they searched for a bonus point to give them a cushion over Scarlets at the top of Conference B.

The try came in the dying embers of the match – Munster's pack driving forward in the maul with Botha pouncing over with seconds remaining.

Ulster ran out 23-14 winners over Cardiff Blues in Friday's other encounter.

Luke Marshall got Ulster up and running inside two minutes, with Billy Burns going over for a second try soon after as John Cooney clocked up points with the boot.

Marshall's yellow card handed Cardiff a reprieve, with Aled Summerhill and Will Boyde hauling the Blues back into contention.

But the visitors' hopes of a comeback were extinguished as Cooney's penalty bolstered Ulster's advantage.

Stuart Hogg's Exeter Chiefs debut ended in defeat as Bath ground out a 13-10 victory in Friday's Premiership clash at The Rec.

Full-back Hogg made his first appearance for last season's losing finalists after becoming available following Scotland's pool-stage elimination at the Rugby World Cup.

Prospects looked positive for the Chiefs in soaking wet conditions when Jonny Hill went under the posts 15 minutes in for the first try after Rhys Priestland's boot had put Bath on the board early doors.

Joe Simmonds added the extras and nailed a penalty to stretch the lead, but Bath were level by the break as Tom Dunn bundled over the line and Priestland kicked the conversion.

Priestland was on target again with a three-pointer in the 56th minute and Zach Mercer made a stunning covering tackle on Alex Cuthbert, who had broken from his own 22 for the Chiefs, to protect the slim advantage.

Bath held firm for the points to recover from last week's resounding 43-16 loss to Bristol Bears in their season opener, while the Chiefs succumbed to a first defeat after beating Harlequins last time out.

Handre Pollard anticipates South Africa's Rugby World Cup semi-final with Wales will be settled by kicking, as he relishes the task of going up against Leigh Halfpenny and Dan Biggar.

Wales were dealt a blow on Thursday when Liam Williams was ruled out of the match due to injury, with Halfpenny coming in at full-back for Sunday's clash in Yokohama.

However, while the Six Nations champions have lost a key player in the form of Williams, Halfpenny is an expert kicker, while Biggar has also been in fine form with the boot.

Springboks' fly half Pollard has not had the same luck, converting 12 of his 19 attempts at goal, and acknowledged his own kicking must improve if Rassie Erasmus' side – who will be without influential wing Cheslin Kolbe – are to make it into the final.

"[Halfpenny] is a world-class goal-kicker, we all know that," Pollard said in a news conference.

"We all know it's going to probably come down to a kick or a drop goal. It's semi-final rugby, so you must try your best to be on target with every kick. If it's not to be, it's not to be."

South Africa defeated Wales in the 2015 quarter-finals, with Biggar a standout performer at Twickenham.

"We went at it four years ago, and I thought [Biggar] had a brilliant game that day. We really had to play well to win that match," Pollard added.

"He is a world-class player, unbelievably good. He is really not scared of the physical part of the match, and that's something that excites both of us. It's going to be fun to go against him for 80 minutes.

"[Wales] know what they are good at and focus on that. They are relentless in those areas. They starve you of possession and territory and enforce their kicking game on you. They take away your set-piece.

"It's not a gameplan or rugby with a lot of flair in it, but it's suffocating. If you fall into that trap, they will enforce their gameplan on you for 80 minutes and you will probably not win.

"It's going to be two sides tactically trying to figure each other out. We have a couple of plans up our sleeves."

Ian Foster says set-pieces are "where the war's going to be won or lost" when New Zealand and England lock horns in the first Rugby World Cup semi-final on Saturday.

The All Blacks and Eddie Jones' side do battle at International Stadium Yokohama for the right to play South Africa or Wales in the final.

Steve Hansen sprung a surprise by picking Scott Barrett ahead of Sam Cane at blindside flanker in what would appear to be an effort to target the England lineout.

New Zealand assistant coach Foster said the team that gain the edge in lineouts and scrums will have a great chance of progressing.

"The quality of your set-piece is key. And rugby hasn't changed over all the years, with all the different things that have happened to it," said Foster.

"There's a simplicity about it. If you scrum well and line-out well, you've got a good chance."

He added: "It's a tactical battle in itself. That's where the war's going to be won or lost."

Prop Joe Moody is relishing a titanic tussle with a powerful England pack.

"There is a big English forward pack. We know they are going to be pretty direct... we're going to have to be up for it to match fire with fire," he said.

"Should be a big old ding-dong battle."

Saracens full-back Alex Goode has been ruled out for up to four months due to a pectoral tear.

The European Player of the Year did the damage in Sarries' 27-25 defeat to Northampton Saints in their Premiership opener at Allianz Park last Saturday.

Goode underwent successful surgery and is expected to be out of action until the end of February.

Hooker Kapeli Pifeleti will be sidelined for around 10 weeks after suffering a knee injury against Northampton.

Captain Brad Barritt, Juan Figallo and Mike Rhodes are among the other absentees for the Premiership and European champions when they face Leicester Tigers on Sunday.

Courtney Lawes says New Zealand will know exactly who they are up against in the Rugby World Cup semi-final on Saturday after the England lock was mistakenly named as a politician by Brodie Retallick five years ago.

Retallick irked the England camp in 2014 when he replied "Michael Laws" after being asked if he could name any members of Stuart Lancaster's squad.

All Blacks lock Retallick was not impressed when he was reminded of that slip of the tongue this week as the world champions and England prepare to do battle in Yokohama for a place in the final.

England forward Lawes expects New Zealand to be more familiar with their opponents this weekend.

"If they don't know, then they will tomorrow, it's just one of those things mate!" Lawes said on Friday.

"We will just get on with it."

Lawes says Eddie Jones' men are relishing the challenge of trying to prevent the holders from becoming the first team to lift the Webb Ellis Cup three times in a row.

"We're excited," said Lawes. "None of us have played in a semi-final before, it's a challenge but we're very excited to get out there."

He added: "I like to take every game like it is, which is a rugby game, and go out there and enjoy.

"Obviously it's a massive occasion and we want to win, we have to win. But I like to go out there and treat every game like it's your last game."

Liam Williams' injury-enforced absence from the Rugby World Cup semi-final against South Africa is "a big loss" for Wales, but Warren Gatland does not think his team is any weaker.

An ankle injury sustained in an accidental collision during training ruled Williams out for the remainder of the tournament in Japan, with Leigh Halfpenny taking his place in the XV for Sunday's match in Yokohama.

However, Gatland stated Halfpenny had been close to earning a starting spot regardless and believes his experience will be an important boost for Wales.

"[Williams] is undoubtedly a big loss from an attacking perspective and what he has achieved in the game in the last year or so," said Gatland.

"But bringing in the experience of someone like Leigh Halfpenny gives us a different element.

"He is defensively probably the best full-back in the world in terms of his aerial game and coverage defensively.

"We had a long debate about whether we started Leigh in the first place and potentially move Liam to the wing.

"There was a long discussion about that so Leigh was probably unlucky he was not in the team in the first place.

"We are disappointed for a world-class player like Liam but we are happy bringing in someone with the experience of Leigh.

"It is a change but we don't think that we are weakening the side in any way with the changes we have made."

Jonathan Davies will start at centre after overcoming a knee injury and Gatland is pleased to have him available for the first time since the pool stage win over Fiji.

"We hope he is fit. He has come through training this week," said Gatland. "He was very close last week and he made a decision last week to rule himself out for the betterment of the team.

"Hopefully we can get through the rain today with the training and it won't affect us too much.

"We will have a shorter session this afternoon and we are excited where we are at the moment."

South Africa were dealt an injury blow of their own with livewire wing Cheslin Kolbe missing out after aggravating an ankle injury in the quarter-final success over Tokyo.

"Obviously he is a big loss to them with his ability to score tries and his footwork," Gatland said of Kolbe, for whom Sbu Nkosi will deputise.

"We were probably going to target him aerially anyway. You talk about their kicking game, I think our kicking game has to be good as well. They definitely have a bit of pace in the back three.

"At this stage of the tournament, you are always going to lose a couple of quality players, and in them losing Kolbe and us losing Liam Williams, it's probably one each in terms of that."

South Africa stand in the way of Wales and a first Rugby World Cup final appearance when they do battle in Yokohama on Sunday.

Wales have twice suffered the agony of a semi-final defeat, losing to New Zealand in 1987 and France in 2011.

South Africa won both of their previous World Cup encounters with Wales and have looked ominous in Japan as they attempt to lift the Webb Ellis Cup for a third time. 

We pick out some Key Opta facts ahead of the second semi-final as the Six Nations champions and Rugby Championship winners eye a showdown with England or the All Blacks.

 

5 - Wales have won five of their last six Tests against South Africa, coming out on top in the last four meetings.

3 - South Africa have conceded just three tries in five games during the tournament - two of which came in their defeat to New Zealand.

12 - Wales have conceded more tries (12) in the World Cup than their previous two campaigns combined (10).

30 - The Springboks have scored more tries (30) and points (211) than any other side in the tournament.

86 - Dan Biggar needs 14 points to become the first Wales player to score 100 World Cup points. Neil Jenkins leads the way with 98 and Stephen Jones notched 95.

32 - South Africa have won 32 of 34 World Cup games in which they have led at half-time.

England and New Zealand face off in a mouth-watering Rugby World Cup semi-final as Eddie Jones' men look to somehow topple the two-time defending champions. 

The All Blacks are aiming to become the first side to win three successive World Cups, but England represent a huge obstacle in their road to history.

For England to defy the odds and reach the final for the first time since 2007, they will need to end a New Zealand winning streak stretching back to that tournament 12 years ago.

Here we take a statistical look at Saturday's mammoth last-four clash in Yokohama.

15 - New Zealand have won 15 of their last 16 matches against England - the exception in that run being a 21-38 defeat at Twickenham in 2012, a game in which Manu Tuilagi and Kieran Read both scored tries.

4 - This will be the fourth Rugby World Cup clash between England and New Zealand. The All Blacks have won each of the previous three (1991, 1995, 1999), including their only knockout encounter which came in the semi-finals of the 1995 tournament in South Africa.

3 - England have won three of their previous four World Cup semi-final matches - the 29-45 loss to New Zealand in 1995 is the exception.

18 - New Zealand have won their past 18 World Cup matches, the longest such run in the tournament's history, last losing a game in the quarter-finals of the 2007 edition against France. Sam Whitelock has played in all 18 of those games and as such holds the individual record for most consecutive wins in World Cup history.

30 - The All Blacks have averaged the most points (51), tries (7.3), metres (642), clean breaks (22), defenders beaten (39) and offloads (17) of any side at the 2019 World Cup. They are also one of four sides yet to lose a scrum on their own feed (30/30).

- Neither England nor New Zealand have conceded a first half try in this tournament so far, the only sides to manage this; both have conceded three tries in the second half.

13 - Owen Farrell (87) needs 13 points to become the second player to reach 100 World Cup points for England after Jonny Wilkinson (277). He has managed that haul in four of his past five starts for England and averages 11.4 points per game in eight previous appearances against New Zealand (including with the British and Irish Lions).

1 - Jonny May needs one try to equal Jason Robinson on 28 tries for England, the joint fifth most for the country. It will be May's 51st match; Robinson won 51 caps for England.

- Maro Itoje has won more turnovers (seven) than any other player at the 2019 World Cup. Ardie Savea (five) is New Zealand's leading exponent in this facet of the game and has indeed won the joint most jackal turnovers of any player (five).

Warren Gatland had mixed news on the injury front as he named the Wales team for their Rugby World Cup semi-final, welcoming back Jonathan Davies but forced to do without Liam Williams.

Wales face South Africa in Yokohama on Sunday looking to reach the World Cup final for the first time.

Davies is back in Gatland's XV after missing the narrow last-eight victory over France with a recurrence of an earlier knee injury.

However, Williams is out of this clash and the remainder of the tournament due to a training-ground injury.

Wales reported Williams had suffered the blow to his ankle in an accidental collision and a prognosis was still to be established.

That blow sees Leigh Halfpenny come into the side at full-back, joining Josh Adams and George North in the back three.

Wales had already lost Josh Navidi to a torn hamstring against France, meaning Ross Moriarty's inclusion is the third and final change to the side.

Gatland's men will be led by Alun Wyn Jones, who is earning his 142nd Test cap - including nine for the British and Irish Lions.

He moves to joint-second on the all-time worldwide list, tied with Italy's Sergio Parisse behind former All Black Richie McCaw (148).

Gareth Davies gets his 50th cap.


Wales team: Leigh Halfpenny, George North, Jonathan Davies, Hadleigh Parkes, Josh Adams, Dan Biggar, Gareth Davies; Wyn Jones, Ken Owens, Tomas Francis, Jake Ball, Alun Wyn Jones, Aaron Wainwright, Justin Tipuric, Ross Moriarty.

Replacements: Elliot Dee, Rhys Carre, Dillon Lewis, Adam Beard, Aaron Shingler, Tomos Williams, Rhys Patchell, Owen Watkin.

Sebastien Vahaamahina has been handed a six-week ban following his red card in the Rugby World Cup quarter-final between France and Wales.

The France second row was dismissed for inexplicably elbowing Aaron Wainwright in the head in the 49th minute of Les Bleus' 20-19 defeat last Sunday.

His indiscipline proved costly as Wales overturned a 19-10 deficit to prevail and set up a semi-final with South Africa.

Vahaamahina announced his retirement from international rugby a day later, but he will now not be able to play for Clermont Auvergne until December 16 after a decision made by an independent judicial committee following a disciplinary hearing he attended via videoconference on Thursday.

A World Rugby statement read: "Vahaamahina admitted the act of foul play, that he had contacted his opponent's head intentionally and accepted that it warranted a red card.

"The committee considered that the terms of High Tackle Sanction Framework were relevant and accepted the player's admission that: There was a strike, there was direct contact between the player's elbow and Aaron Wainwright's jaw, there are no mitigating factors.

"The committee upheld the red card and considered this to be top-end offending. This resulted in a starting point of a 10-week suspension.

"Taking into account the mitigating factors that are considered in relation to sanction, including the player's early and full acknowledgment of his conduct and prompt apology to his opponent, the committee reduced the 10-week entry point by four weeks, resulting in a sanction of six weeks."

Vahaamahina's first opportunity to make his return will be in the Top 14 clash with Toulon on December 21. He will miss Clermont's first four Champions Cup matches as a result of his suspension.

Steve Hansen wants to ensure New Zealand do not repeat past mistakes by getting caught up in the "euphoria" of a quarter-final triumph when they battle England for a place in the Rugby World Cup showpiece.

Two-time defending champions the All Blacks are the favourites to lift the Webb Ellis Cup once again but must overcome Eddie Jones' side in Yokohama on Saturday to keep their hopes of doing so alive.

New Zealand produced a commanding display to brush aside Ireland, who started the tournament in Japan as the top-ranked side in the world, 46-14 in the last eight.

But Hansen warned against looking beyond a blockbuster semi-final with England, something he feels they have been guilty of in the past.

"Sometimes I think people come off the euphoria of winning the quarter-final, and then they start looking ahead at the final," said Hansen.

"I think that could have been a mistake that we've made in the past. I think we may have even done it in 2007, looking beyond the quarter-final. And when you start looking beyond where you're actually at, then your mind's not where your feet are, and you're vulnerable.

"I think that's probably why they would say it's tough, because you've just come off the euphoria of winning the quarter-final knowing you now have an opportunity, and then you may start looking at that opportunity before you've actually earned the right to look at it."

Jones on Thursday moved away from his apparent attempts at kidology earlier this week, having claimed someone had spied on England training without accusing the All Blacks, of whom he said "the pressure will be chasing them down the street".

England have lost each of their past six Tests against New Zealand and the head coach is relishing the chance to put that right.

"It's going to be a great contest, isn't it? Two heavyweights, one dressed in black, one dressed in white. You couldn't think of a better scenario," said Jones.

"I think it's a great week, it's one of the most exciting weeks in world rugby.

"You get a press conference [with this many people] usually only when you've done something bad.

"We haven't done anything bad yet, so it's an exceptional week for us."

Kieran Read and Jonny May overcame injury concerns to feature in the starting XV for New Zealand and England respectively.

 

PLAYERS TO WATCH

England - George Ford

Having been dropped to the bench for the quarter-final success over Australia, Ford will want to prove himself after returning to the starting XV as the only change. Jones highlighted the fly-half's impressive work-rate and he will want to deliver on that after replacing captain Owen Farrell, who will start at outside centre, in the number 10 shirt.

New Zealand - Scott Barrett

Hansen too only made one alteration to his line-up, with lock Barrett replacing Sam Cane in the back row. Barrett has never started an All Blacks game at flanker so it will be interesting to see if the coach's tactical decision pays dividends.

KEY OPTA FACTS

- This will be the fourth World Cup clash between England and New Zealand. The All Blacks have won each of the previous three (1991, 1995, 1999) including their only knockout encounter, which came in the semi-finals of the 1995 tournament in South Africa.
- England had just 10 minutes and 34 seconds of possession in their quarter-final victory against Australia, their lowest amount in a game since Opta have recorded this data (2010).
- The All Blacks have averaged the most points (51), tries (7.3), metres (642), clean breaks (22), defenders beaten (39) and offloads (17) of any side at this World Cup.
- Billy Vunipola is in line to win his 50th cap for England. New Zealand are the one side he has yet to beat in an England shirt (L4), notching up victories against each of the other 11 nations he has faced.

South Africa director of rugby Rassie Erasmus has hailed Wales head coach Warren Gatland as a "legend" ahead of their Rugby World Cup semi-final showdown on Sunday.

Gatland masterminded a Grand Slam triumph in the final Six Nations campaign of his tenure this year and stands on the brink of leading Wales into a first World Cup final.

Erasmus hailed the New Zealander, who will end his long reign after the tournament in Japan, as he prepares to pit his wits against the wily British and Irish Lions coach in Yokohama this weekend.

"Warren is an absolute legend of the game. You very seldom see him in a mouth fight and mudslinging before Test matches," said Erasmus.

"I've never been there having to reply to something he says, and he doesn't bite at you to create unnecessary nonsense before a Test match, so I've got a lot of respect for him as a person.

"His results on the field speak for themselves, with the Welsh team and the British and Irish Lions."

Erasmus made one enforced change to his side following an emphatic win over Japan, Sbu Nkosi replacing Cheslin Kolbe (ankle).

Gatland will be hoping Jonathan Davies is available to return after missing the quarter-final win over France with a knee injury, but Erasmus says they have enough quality to cope without the centre.

"They've almost got a southern hemisphere backline in terms of size." Erasmus said of the Six Nations champions.

"I know [Dan] Biggar is maybe not as big as other guys, but definitely busy. Hadleigh Parkes is a big guy, Davies is a physical guy. I think he was backline player of the tour in New Zealand with the British and Irish Lions.

"You've got [George] North, who is a big boy, and Liam Williams, who was always outstanding and physical. So, if they lose him [Davies], they will definitely lose a guy who is intimidating, who's got soft skills, experience.

"But then again, they've still got Liam there, Biggar, good guys off the bench, still got [Leigh] Halfpenny there.

"They've got a great pack of forwards, but their backline is a big threat. If they do lose him, they will lose somebody like we've lost Cheslin, but hell, they've got some great other players as well."

Eddie Jones does not think anyone outside the England camp believes they can beat New Zealand in a blockbuster Rugby World Cup semi-final on Saturday.

New Zealand go into the clash in Yokohama two victories away from lifting the Webb Ellis Cup for the third time in succession, but Jones is happy to be the underdog.

The Australian said this week "the pressure will be chasing [the All Blacks] down the street", while his team could play without the burden of expectation.

Although Jones admitted to a degree of anxiety about the clash, he hopes to help his team thrive against the favourites for success in Japan.

"There's always nerves - you're only human - but there's that mixture between being nervous and excited which is the reason you coach," Jones told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"To be involved in a game like this is the most fantastic experience as a coach, and it's what you live for.

"Out of one hundred journalists in the room, as we saw, 97 think New Zealand are going to win.

"The three who put up their hands put them up timidly and hoped no one saw them put up their hands.

"Our 31 players plus 20-odd staff believe we can win, and we're the only people in Japan who believe we can win. We'll take that situation and maximise it."

Jones' men have lost their past six matches against New Zealand but 11 players in the squad for Saturday's match have experience of beating the All Blacks, either in England's 38-21 victory in December 2012 or the British and Irish Lions' second Test success in 2017.

The England boss believes that will hold the team in good stead as they look to cause an upset.

"I think traditionally when you play against New Zealand, the pace and intensity of the game gets you," said Jones.

"If you have experienced that before, you understand what you have got to prepare yourself for, and most of our squad have been involved in those games so we've got great experience.

"They know what New Zealand are going to bring to the game and they have practised this week to be equipped for it.

"We are ready for the game, we've had two-and-a-half years to prepare for this game so we are ready to go."

George Ford will return at fly-half in the only change for England, while Steve Hansen's sole alteration for the All Blacks sees Scott Barrett replace Sam Cane.

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