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Day 32 at the Rugby World Cup: England set up semi-final date with All Blacks

New Zealand have not lost a World Cup match since 2007, while England are aiming to make their third final appearance in Japan.

England face two-time defending champions New Zealand in the World Cup semi-finals (Ashley Western/PA)
England face two-time defending champions New Zealand in the World Cup semi-finals (Ashley Western/PA)

By PA Sport Staff

England and New Zealand sealed their respective places in the Rugby World Cup semi-finals with big wins over Australia and Ireland respectively.

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The pair will now limber up for next weekend’s semi-final in Yokohama when Eddie Jones’s side will be tasked with stopping the All Blacks’ bid for a third straight crown.

Meanwhile, big changes are ahead for their vanquished foes. Here, the PA news agency runs the rule over the repercussions of the last-eight clashes.

England storm into World Cup semi-final

Jonny May celebrated his 50th cap by touching down twice as England blazed into the World Cup semi-finals with a record-equalling 40-16 win over Australia in Oita.

May starred as Eddie Jones’s men secured ample revenge for their own humiliation four years ago when the Wallabies dumped them out of their home World Cup at the group stage.

Backed by the pinpoint accuracy of fly-half Owen Farrell, England seldom looked troubled by their opponents as they eased home to set up a semi-final against the All Blacks.

All-conquering All Blacks focus on three-peat

New Zealand underlined their status as favourites to claim an unprecedented third consecutive World Cup title as they demolished Ireland 46-14.

Ireland were simply shattered by a lightning start by the All Blacks, who established a 22-0 advantage by the break and were led home by a brace from Aaron Smith.

The All Blacks, who have not tasted World Cup defeat for 4,397 days, since their 20-18 quarter-final loss to France in 2007, move on to face England in Yokohama next Saturday.

Joe Schmidt’s men were brutally punished for a series of errors with Robbie Henshaw’s score and a late penalty try doing little to improve the Irish mood.

May’s day as Jonny earns plaudits for reaching half-century

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Jonny May scored two tries and won his 50th cap (David Davies/PA)

Six years after winning his first cap for England against Argentina, Jonny May produced a double try-scoring performance to steer his country into the last four of the World Cup.

And it was no surprise that England coach Eddie Jones should single out May for his contribution – and his long and distinguished service – as his team celebrated an emphatic victory.

Jones said: “It is a great achievement to play 50 times for your country. There is probably not a more professional player than him.

“He showed what a good finisher he is. He just had a little bit of a twinge at the end, so we took him off, but he should be fine.”

Cheika rails retirement talk

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika was affronted by speculation over his future which inevitably arose within moments of his team’s heavy defeat.

And Cheika insisted the nature of his side’s defeat was not made worse either by the opponents nor the fact it came in a World Cup quarter-final.

Cheika said: “I am being honest, it’s a cruel world when you are being asked those questions two minutes after being knocked out of a World Cup.

“If you could find some compassion. Perhaps whatever your news outlet is, just think about people’s feelings, just chill.

“An exit is an exit. It doesn’t matter if it’s a final or a quarter-final. The opponent is irrelevant. For all the carry on, we are just going out to compete – it’s painful either way.”

End of an era for Ireland

Ireland’s heavy defeat to the All Blacks signalled the end of a pair of distinguished eras with both coach Joe Schmidt and captain Rory Best set to call it a day.

And the emotion proved almost too much for the 37-year-old Best who paid tribute to the Irish supporters in the capacity crowd.

Best said: “I would just like to thank this unbelievable Irish crowd. It started off with an incredible atmosphere and they were brilliant,” he said.

“But the All Blacks were fantastic tonight. We felt we prepared well all week, we felt we had a game plan, we felt we had enough in our armoury to beat them.

“They just started off out of the blocks hard at us, put us on the back foot and, like good sides do, they never let us get off that again.”

PA

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