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England dismiss final favourites tag

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'We don't bet, we don't look at the bookies, we aren't concerned (we're favourites for the final)...'

By PA Authors
By Online Editors

Eddie Jones doesn’t care if England are now World Cup favourites after their stunning semi-final win over New Zealand. The back-to-back defending champions were beaten 19-7, leaving England waiting on Wales against South Africa to find their final opponents.

Whoever prevails on Sunday, England will be fancied after this shock win, but Jones is not interested. “We don’t bet. We don’t look at the bookies, we aren’t concerned. Our expectation is to get better every day,” he told ITV.

“We have another week in the competition, the prospect to work hard and see where we can take our game and get better. We had great tactical discipline. You try and play at their game, you come off second best. We stuck to our game really well. I thought the discipline of our players was outstanding in attack and defence.”

On his forwards, he added: “They played really well, Steve Borthwick and Neal Hatley do a fantastic job with them, well drilled, tactically aware.”

England’s hero of their 2003 World Cup success, Jonny Wilkinson, said the modern-day players were “superheroes”. “You look at the back-row guys, Curry and Underhill, their impact, it’s immense,” he said. “It’s easy to look at New Zealand and call them superheroes, but you have to do the same thing for our boys and give them credit.

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“That’s a result of immense talent and training, Eddie Jones has created an incredible environment in which these guys can do what they have done. They are on a par with these New Zealand superheroes.”

Winning captain Owen Farrell told ITV: “It’s a World Cup semi-final against New Zealand, as big as it gets. We feel like we prepared well and we started well. In all these big games, teams get physical and we were ready to go at it from the off.”

On the final, he added: “It’s brilliant to get there, brilliant to be a part of. We will enjoy this and then make sure we prepare.”

World Cup-winning coach from 2005 Clive Woodward said: “That was totally complete. They strangled the All Blacks to death, not just the first two minutes, but the whole game. The physicality, 1-15, was fantastic. It was huge and totally deserved. They absolutely smashed them.”

– Press Association 

WATCH: How Jim Hamilton previewed the England versus New Zealand semi-final on Don’t Mess With Jim 

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'We don't bet, we don't look at the bookies, we aren't concerned (we're favourites for the final)...'