Brodie Retallick England keep their feet on the ground and their eyes on the prize

Brodie Retallick This is one nice ingredient!

England 19 New Zealand 7

Rarely has an All Blacks team been so thoroughly outplayed, least of all in a World Cup match; but, then again, rarely has an England team played so well in one either.

Executing Eddie Jones’s masterplan almost to the letter, England won the kicking duel and the territory, had the better set-piece and – with their blend of direct runners, offloading and width – the more potent attacking game, and also enveloped the All Blacks’ brilliant attacking game with their defence.

Pushing up hard, always keeping the right distance between each other, they were like a white wall in the All Blacks’ faces. Every time Richie Mo’unga looked wide he saw Manu Tuilagi cutting off the outside channels, forcing him back inside. Ditto Beauden Barrett, who tried everything, and the All Blacks made 21 offloads and 32 defenders beaten, but all the while England’s defensive effort was given fresh energy by the big hits of the mighty Maro Itoje and the kamikaze twins, Sam Underhill and Tom Curry. One of Underhill’s many big hits, on Jordan Barrett, proved the final decisive play of the match, and he must be the biggest yet cleanest tackler in this tournament.

The problem for England will be scaling those heights again.

Speaking in the wake of England’s comprehensive and compelling 19-7 beating of the All Blacks, Eddie Jones downplayed both the scale of the week ahead and the performance.

“It’s just another week, mate. The players are at the end of seven weeks so recovery is so important – physical and mental. The mindset you create during the week is very important. And it’s about not inventing shadows. Everywhere you look, there are shadows, so you have to make sure you are looking at the right shadows.”

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