26 Oct 2019

Rugby World Cup: Head to head - All Blacks vs England

6:03 pm on 26 October 2019

All Blacks against England rugby matches have an edge to them way beyond the historic scoreline.

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Photo: Graphic / Suneil Narsai

After 41 encounters, the All Blacks have an unassailable lead of 33 wins to seven, with one draw.

There's something special when these two sides clash. This Saturday, it will be the extra tension of the Rugby World Cup semifinal.

This match has the feel of the final - the two best sides so far, one northern hemisphere, the other southern. It could be a ding-dong battle.

The All Blacks are two wins away from an historic third Rugby World Cup win, but tonight's semifinal against England has been described as the biggest hurdle to get there.

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Photo: Graphic / Suneil Narsai

They are currently the two best teams in the world, but the history between them is not so even.

In the last fifteen years, the All Blacks have taken on England and won fifteen times.

The English have won once, at Twickenham in 2012

But there's more to it than a finals berth at stake.

Few other rugby rivalries have so many extraordinary moments, from a Russian prince scoring one of the great rugby tries 70 years ago to probably the greatest prince of rugby, Jonah Lomu, scoring probably the most beautiful brutal try in the game's history.

Check out the greatest moments between the All Blacks and England here.

Maybe it's the colour - the elemental all black vs all white. Maybe it's this country's colonial history and the coloniser against outpost dynamic. Whatever the reason, it always feels as if there is more at stake when England takes on New Zealand.

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Photo: Graphic / Suneil Narsai

For a while, there was talk of the "England decade". Every 10 years the English team seemed to stand up and wallop the All Blacks.

It started in 1973 on an otherwise disastrous tour of New Zealand. England, when the All Blacks had played each other just six times since 1936. The test is famed for a try by Russian Prince Alexander Obolensky who carved through New Zealand, one of two he scored in England's 13-0 win.

In those 37 years, the All Blacks had won all six tests. Then came the miserable team of 1973. The English lost to Taranaki. They lost to Wellington. They lost to Canterbury. But they won one crucial match; 15 September, Eden Park against the All Blacks 16-10.

When the All Blacks lost a decade later at Twickenham in 1983, the legend of bad things happening in years ending in three began.

In 1993, the All Blacks lost again, 15-9 at Twickenham.

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Photo: Graphic / Suneil Narsai

And guess what happened in 2003? In an astonishing match, England had two players sent from the field, yet they still managed to hang on for a win 15-13.

Though it is always grudging for All Black fans to admit it, we had witnessed a very good England side - one that went on to win the Rugby World Cup that year.

The biggest margin for the All Blacks is a superb 42 points, when NZ won 64-22 at Carisbrook in 1998 (the year didn't end in a three, so NZ were safe).

England's biggest margin is its 38-21 (17 point) win at Twickenham in 2012.

The All Blacks have a lopsided points record over England - 985 points to 575.

It's worth pointing out that England has not won against New Zealand at a Rugby World Cup.

The All Blacks won 18-12 in the opening match of the 1991 World Cup, held in Britain, though England went on to win their way through to the final, before losing to Australia. New Zealand were knocked out by Australia in the semifinal.

The next encounter was the Lomu test. It was the semi-final of the 1995 World Cup and that man, Jonah Lomu, scored four tries, including running over a hapless Mike Catt, as the All Blacks ran away from a good English side 45-29.

In 1999, New Zealand won 30-16 and ten years later we are facing each other in the semi-final.

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