England are into their first Rugby World Cup final in 12 years after a brilliant demolition of three-time world champions New Zealand.
England had stormed into a 10-0 lead, Manu Tuilagi’s second-minute try and a long-range penalty from George Ford fitting reward for a blistering first half.
The 2003 winners could have been out of sight had tries for Sam Underhill and Ben Youngs not been ruled out by the video referee, but when Ardie Savea pounced on a wayward line-out throw to reduce the deficit to 13-7 the three-time world champions were on the charge.
Yet the superb Ford landed a trio of nerveless penalties and with the young dynamos Underhill and Tom Curry outstanding in the back row England held on in style to pull off one of their greatest victories.
The All Blacks had not lost a World Cup game in 12 years and had won 15 of the past 16 games between the two nations.
But four years after crashing out at the group stage England tore the crown from their head with a performance of unremitting energy and excellence on a night for the ages in Yokohama.
England nail perfect 10 in breathless first half
It was a start Eddie Jones’ men would have dreamed of.
Anthony Watson escaped down the right, England came in white-shirted waves and after Kyle Sinckler and Courtney Lawes crashed on, Tuilagi dived over from two metres out.
“We’ve come here to be the world’s best and we haven’t done that yet, so that’s where we need to go”
Farrell landed the conversion for 7-0 with only two minutes on the clock – and when Tuilagi picked off a stray pass from Beauden Barrett and found Jonny May accelerating up on his outside shoulder it looked for all the world like a second try, only for flanker Scott Barrett to get across and force the winger inside and into heavy traffic.
The pace was ferocious, England playing with a glorious tempo and precision, New Zealand using full-back Barrett as playmaker as they struggled to exert their usual control.
England went close again before Owen Farrell spilt the ball deep in the opposition 22, and then a possible try for Underhill was correctly ruled out because Curry’s run had blocked off two defenders.
But Jones’ men were dominating the set-piece and the breakdown, Ford sending a long-range drop goal just to the right of the posts as England searched for the points to match their endeavour.
The points finally came right on the half-time gong after Underhill won a breakdown penalty, and Ford – with Farrell struggling with a leg injury – landed a precious three points from 45 metres out.
England: Daly; Watson, Tuilagi, Farrell (capt), May; Ford, Youngs; M Vunipola, George, Sinckler, Itoje, Lawes, Curry, Underhill, B Vunipola.
Replacements: Cowan-Dickie, Marler, Cole, Kruis, Wilson, Heinz, Slade, Joseph.
New Zealand: B Barrett; Reece, Goodhue, Lienert-Brown, Bridge; Mo’unga, Smith; Moody, Taylor, Laulala, Retallick, Whitelock, Barrett, Savea, Read (capt).
Replacements: Coles, Tuungafasi, Ta’avao, Tuipulotu, Cane, Perenara, Williams, J Barrett.
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales); Assistants: Romain Poite (France), Pascal Gauzere (France); TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)
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