An entire nation holds it’s breath as Eddie Jones’ men do battle with the reigning Rugby World Cup champions in this Saturday’s semifinals at the Yokohama Stadium.
And as the Roses first in over a decade it doesn’t get bigger than this. Fortunately, our England vs New Zealand predictions are expecting another of this summer’s upsets to emerge through a defeat for the All Blacks.
Sure, it’s one helluva mountain to climb when you’re facing one of the most dominant and ruthless rugby team to ever grace the sport.
But, as mentioned in our 2019 Rugby World Cup predictions, England won’t want to leave this tournament in a hurry, not after the failures of the 2015 edition, which they hosted.
So, here’s our big call for this weekend’s heavyweight clash…
England vs New Zealand Predictions
You only had to watch England’s quarter-final performance against Australia to understand exactly where our projections derive from.
Indeed, the Roses produced an attacking masterclass that the Aussies just could not contain. And leading the offensive charge was the Roses winger Jonny May and kicker Owen Farrell.
The former – May – was a livewire, darting in and out of the Aussies defensive line. It was the kind of movement that led to two tries inside three minutes for the Leicester Tigers player midway through the first half.
The 29-year-old finished off a good movement for his first try. And the second was just as seamless and fluid to watch as the galloping winger, in acres of space, was able to take possession from Henry Slade and earn his side another five points.
On the other hand, Farrell proved to be just as adept with his kicking and pressing in both halves of the pitch.
It was a dominant victory that saw Jones’ men claim their seventh successive win over the Wallabies. But as assertive as they were, our England vs New Zealand predictions are forecasting that they’ll need to take things up a notch for this Saturday’s opponents.
The team in question pummelled Ireland by a scoreline of 46-14 to power their way through to this weekend’s last-eight clash in Tokyo.
It was an uncharacteristic performance by the Irish, who have defeated Steve Hansen’s men in two of the last three games between the sides. But such was the supremacy of the All Blacks that Ireland completely deflated in response.
Seven tries, two from scrumhalf Aaron Smith, silenced the travelling Ireland fans within a half of the game.
But for all of New Zealand’s rugby muscles, if England plays their cards right, they can certainly slip through the defensive nooks and crannies.
Especially considering the youthful All Blacks backline featuring Jack Goodhue (24) Anton Lienert-Brown (24), George Bridge (24), and Sevu Reece (22).
The spry quartet is one that Hansen has never fielded in a World Cup semifinal. Whether that decision is based on confidence in his players or a tactical move is still up for debate.
What is clear is that the likes of May, George Ford, Manu Tuilagi and Tom Curry are more than capable of causing the Kiwis defensive havoc.
Do this often enough, and they could be on their way to making it to the World Cup finals, with the added reward of having sunk the reigning champions in the process.
England vs New Zealand Head To Head
The head-to-head stats may go against the grain, but our England vs New Zealand predictions expect that the last few results don’t tell the full story about this particular fixture.
Sure, the All Blacks have won each of the last five games in this tie. But only one of those – the 2014 clash in Hamilton – ended in defeat for Jones’ men by more than five points.
And the latest match was edged by New Zealand on English turf by a mere point.
Indeed, all evidence points to a close encounter; the kind that only a team humbled by past humiliations, and inspired by recent performances can edge.
Fortunately for England, in line with our projections, that won’t be the Kiwis.
England Team News
The good news for the Roses is that there’s a fully fit squad for Jones to pick from – not a single injury concern to worry about.
Indeed, the issues that surrounded May and Jack Nowell seem to have been resolved. While the former had a tight hamstring to negate, the latter was dealing with ligament issues.
And now that Jones will be able to field his strongest side, Neal Hatley, the scrum coach had this to say:
“It’s fantastic where we are, all 31 being available for selection at the end of the week”.
Such a boost will only drive the Roses’ confidence, and as a result, our England vs New Zealand predictions too.
New Zealand Team News
Meanwhile, things coming from the New Zealand camp also seem to be on the up. Especially considering the recent concerns that developed over captain Kieran Read.
The non-appearance of the skipper at training on a wet Tuesday morning prompted fans and media alike to speculate whether the 33-year-old was nursing an injury.
Yet, the real reason couldn’t be further from the truth. According to Hansen, Read wasn’t seen in training as he was being protected from the damp conditions and completing his training indoors.
Which means he’ll be right as rain come Saturday.
Yet it’s bad news for openside flanker Matt Todd, who hasn’t been so lucky with his injury concerns.
Indeed, Todd has been nursing a dislocated shoulder which he picked up before the tournament even began. If available, he’ll be on the team sheet, yet all signs imply that this game has come too soon for the New Zealander.
England vs New Zealand Betting Tips
It seems as if the betting tipsters are amused by our England vs New Zealand predictions, given that they’ve dealt the Roses an intriguing hand of odds.
With Jones’ men operating as a 5/2 pick, there is certainly an appeal about punting on the so-called underdogs. And even better so, once you take a look at the wagers about a draw in our England vs New Zealand match bets – 21/1.
As for the Kiwis, another win clinched this Saturday is trading at 7/20.
Yet, even despite the betting markets, a performance that defies all the odds is what we’re forecasting from England at the Yokohama this weekend.