England can play better in Rugby World Cup final says Eddie Jones

By Becky GreyBBC Sport at Yokohama International Stadium
George Ford
George Ford kicked four penalties to cap a fine performance against the All Blacks
Rugby World Cup final
Venue: Yokohama International Stadium Date: Saturday, 2 November Kick-off: 09:00 GMT
Coverage: Listen to live radio commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live and follow live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app.

Head coach Eddie Jones promised an even better England performance in the World Cup final after their dominant semi-final victory against New Zealand.

Jones' side demolished the three-time world champions 19-7 to reach their first final in 12 years.

When asked if it was one of the best England showings of all time, Jones replied: "Give us another week".

"We're not historians, we don't know. We know we can play better next week," he added.

New Zealand had not lost a World Cup game in 12 years, but England took control of the semi-final immediately thanks to a Manu Tuilagi try in the second minute.

New Zealand flanker Ardie Savea took advantage of a line-out error to score the All Blacks' only try, but four George Ford penalties kept England out of reach.

It is the first time England have beaten New Zealand in a Rugby World Cup match and means they will now face Wales or South Africa in the final next Saturday.

But Jones is not getting ahead of himself, insisting that England are not thinking about the implications of their stunning victory.

"All that stuff you guys are talking about is for you to talk about so enjoy it because you won't be getting anything from us," Jones told journalists.

"We're ready for a good week. That's the only thing we have to be ready for.

"We've got the right focus. I remember our first meeting together four years ago.

"We wanted to be the best team in the world. We're not the best team in the world. We've got the opportunity to play in the game to prove that."

'Wales v South Africa will go to extra time'

Wales will face the Springboks in the other semi-final on Sunday and a Welsh victory would set up the first home nations final in Rugby World Cup history.

England were beaten by Wales as they crashed out at the group stage of a home World Cup in 2015.

Whoever his side face in the final on 2 November, Jones jokingly predicted their opponents will have had to play extra time to get there.

"We're looking forward to Wales and South Africa playing through to a draw, then they have to play extra time and if it's still a draw they have to play even more extra time," he said.

"I'll definitely come and watch the game tomorrow."

'Eddie told us to rewrite history'

Number eight Billy Vunipola, who won his 50th England cap in the semi-final victory, said Jones told the players to focus on their "own brand of rugby".

"At the start of the week, Eddie said he wanted us to rewrite history and we have gone one step towards doing that," he said.

"We talked all week about that fact the All Blacks don't go away. They are the number one team in the world for a reason, and you have to work for everything.

"You have to play in the right areas and I thought our generals were amazing putting us in the right places and giving us opportunities to get our breath back."

Vunipola also praised the performance of young flankers Tom Curry and Sam Underhill.

"It's made my job easier so I'm happy that I'm on their side," he said. "They are like the Duracell bunnies, they just go all day and that allows me to rest and hopefully I can make use of that by helping in other ways."

Curry, 21, added: "You have to take the occasion in and not let it pass you by but control is massive to our game and we have to make sure we deliver that again.

"We don't want to do a disservice to ourselves because of the occasion.

"The World Cup is such a fast-moving pace we have to shift our focus quickly on to South Africa or Wales."

Maro Itoje
Maro Itoje won three turnovers against the All Blacks

Lock Maro Itoje was named man of the match but says he can still improve by being "more engaged, more in the moment".

"We will just build and build towards the final," he added. "We will make sure the guys have the right attitude, as well as the right time to relax and switch off a little bit."

England won 90% of their own line-outs and stole the ball twice on the New Zealand throw, though the only All Blacks' try came from an England error.

"You don't win two World Cups for no reason," said Itoje.

"They are a top, top team. They've set the standard for the last eight to ten years of world rugby. We had to be at our absolute best to try and challenge them.

"The moment you slip off against them, they score. And that line-out just proved that."

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