By Mitch Phillips
TOKYO (Reuters) – England and New Zealand will meet for the 42nd time, in the Rugby World Cup semi-finals on Saturday, with the All Blacks winning 33 of the previous games, England seven, with one draw.
Here are five of the most memorable encounters.
June 1995, World Cup semi-final, Cape Town
New Zealand won 45-29
This game is forever remembered for one of the most remarkable individual displays in international rugby history as 20-year-old wing Jonah Lomu scored four tries, trampling over and through England players as if they were children.
Lomu, who died in 2015 following complications from kidney disease, was a thunderous presence, with Mike Catt regularly trampled underfoot, as the All Blacks blew into a 35-3 lead after half an hour.
England regrouped and scored four tries in the second half but the damage had been well and truly done by then by a superb New Zealand team who had so much confidence that number eight Zinzan Brooke even landed a drop goal almost from the halfway line.
New Zealand advanced to the final full of hope but were beaten by hosts South Africa 15-12 after extra time.
= = =
November 1997, Twickenham
Match drawn 26-all.
The only draw between the two sides interestingly came three weeks after England had also fought out their only draw with Australia.
In between England had been hammered by South Africa and the All Blacks so were pretty pleased to have salvaged something from a tough Autumn series.
Tries from David Rees, Richard Hill and Lawrence Dallaglio drove England into a 20-3 lead but New Zealand hit back through Walter Little and Andrew Mehrtens, with the flyhalf also landing four penalties to edge them ahead, before a late Paul Grayson penalty levelled it.
= = =
June, 2003, Wellington
England won 15-13
The siege of Wellington.
This match has long been credited as the moment Clive Woodward’s team showed they had what it takes to win the World Cup, as they claimed England’s second win on New Zealand soil.
The pivotal moment came when back rowers Neil Back and Lawrence Dallaglio were sinbinned but the remaining six forwards stood their ground in four scrums on their own line.
Jonny Wilkinson kicked all the points, with penalties and a drop goal, and six months later it was his extra-time drop goal that won the World Cup final for England in Sydney.
= = =
December 2012, Twickenham
England won 38-21
Manu Tuilagi’s finest hour inspired England to what remains their only win in the last 16 meetings and ended New Zealand’s 20-match unbeaten run.
It was a performance full of verve coming a year after the disappointing 2011 World Cup campaign as new coach Stuart Lancaster seemed to be building something special.
Tuilagi was unstoppable, scoring one try and having a hand in two more for Brad Barritt and Chris Ashton in one of England’s best-ever performances.
Instead of being able to build his team around Tuilagi, however, Lancaster had do without the injury-hit Leicester man for much of his tenure. He is back on duty on Saturday and the All Blacks will need no reminding of the danger he brings.
November 2018, Twickenham
New Zealand won 16-15
The teams’ last meeting, their first for four years, was a brilliant match with a nerve-jangling finale.
Tries by Chris Ashton and Dylan Hartley had England 15-0 up and the home fans out of their seats in excitement.
Damian McKenzie struck back with a try and the kicking of Beauden Barrett, featuring his first-ever test drop goal, enabled New Zealand to edge to a 16-15 lead.
England thought they had won it five minutes from time when Courtney Lawes charged down TJ Pereira’s clearance kick and flanker Sam Underhill scooped up the ball and threw a dummy to befuddle Barrett and reach the line, only for the TMO to rule that Lawes was offside.
(Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)