Brodie Retallick Rugby World Cup: New Zealand’s statement of intent before England semi-final

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Brodie Retallick New Zealand celebrate

New Zealand have scored more points than anyone else in the competition
Rugby World Cup semi-final: England v New Zealand
Venue:International Stadium YokohamaDate:Saturday, 26 October.Kick-off:09:00 BST
Coverage:Full commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live and online, plus text updates on the BBC Sport website and app.

England overcame Australia in emphatic fashion to set up a World Cup semi-final against New Zealand on Saturday.

But Eddie Jones’ side will not be getting ahead of themselves just yet after watching their opponents do a demolition job on Ireland.

Standing in England’s path is one of the toughest challenges in world sport, beating the All Blacks – and doing it on the grandest stage of all.

So how big is the task facing England? And what should they expect from the two-time defending champions in Yokohama next weekend?

  • What does it take to be an All Black?
  • England ruthlessly dispatch Australia
  • New Zealand overpower Ireland in Tokyo

A vintage All Blacks performance

The narrative, perhaps wishful thinking, before the tournament was that New Zealand were beatable, not the same side that won back-to-back World Cups.

Ireland contributed to that ideal by beating the All Blacks twice in the past three years, while Steve Hansen’s side also lost to Australia this summer and were held by Rugby Championship winners South Africa.

But they appear to be peaking at the right time.

New Zealand passed their first test in their opening match of the tournament, seeing off second-favourites South Africa 23-13, and swatted away Ireland on Saturday with ruthless efficiency.

The All Blacks scored seven tries for the third time in the history of the knockout stages – they are the only side to have scored seven beyond the pool stages – and did so having shared the possession equally with Ireland.

The difference was the speed in which they recycle the ball, and the pace and skill of both the backs and forwards gives them a clinical cutting edge.

New Zealand made a massive 461 metres with the ball to Ireland’s 251, 13 clean breaks to their opponent’s two, beat

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