If England slow All Blacks' tempo, we'll have ourselves a semi

If there was one piece of advice I could give Kieran Read and his All Blacks side ahead of the Rugby World Cup semifinal against England in Yokohama on Saturday, it would be not to think about anything other than the game they have to play.

They need to keep their eye on the ball and not look too far ahead. There's only one game to play and that's the next one. It's about winning the semifinal.

It certainly made me feel old when I heard that All Blacks Sam Cane and Brodie Retallick had never watched the last World Cup semifinal between the All Blacks and England, the 45-29 win in Cape Town in 1995.

It was a great piece of history and while South Africa went on and won, we got our revenge a year later. But the baton has been passed to these guys to make their own history.

The tension and nervous build-up going into the Irish game certainly showed the All Blacks heads were in the right space. They did not take the Irish lightly and they went out and just put a comprehensive performance together, which I thought was one of the best performances I have seen by any All Blacks team in recent times.

I've heard a lot of people saying a lot of people played really well, and they did and full credit to them. What I haven't heard is a lot of people giving credit to Joe Moody. I thought that was one of the best performances I have seen a front-rower play in an All Black jersey.

We looked at what they were asking for pre-World Cup; being a mobile forward; carrying a bit more ball. Moody did his job really well. He carried a lot of ball but what has been understated was that he was marking the best tighthead prop in the world in Tadgh Furlong; Moody ensured we had a complete, rock solid platform from which to operate off.

It's largely gone unnoticed but the reason why our backs played so well, and everyone else, was the platform laid down by our tight forwards. I think the difference between the Irish and the All Blacks is that we have tight forwards that can play at that speed, at that level, and not make errors the Irish forwards made under similar strain.

If you went through and saw where their breakdowns were made or where the mistakes occurred, it was with their tight forwards knocking on ball or creating the turnover. Furlong running past the breakdown, the ruck; not covering the short side on defence; that was what allowed Aaron Smith to score his first try. Furlong was not able to operate the brain at that level of intensity, that level of speed, and that's testament to Joe Moody putting real pressure on at scrum time and around the field. I just want to give him a huge shout out and say, 'great game.'

The way the All Blacks are able to play a fast game, with such clarity, was typified by the no-look pass from centre Jack Goodhue to wing Sevu Reece. He just knew he would be there, they had trained that and done it time and time again.

When Ireland tried something similar, albeit among their tight five, they dropped the ball and the All Blacks pounced. When the All Blacks are allowed to play at that tempo, they're always going to be dangerous. Now I'm 100 percent sure their semifinal against England is going to be our biggest challenge.

They are not going to let us play at that tempo, they are going to try and slow it down. They've got some big, strong forwards and they've also got a bit of skill.

This English side isn't as traditional as New Zealand have played in the past where they were very one-dimensional. Eddie Jones' outfit is not one-dimensional. They've got some good ball handlers; they've got a couple of good playmakers, depending on what they do with Farrell or Ford; they might play 10-12. Who knows? But they can certainly test the All Blacks.

I think we've got to remember that thumping we got at Twickenham in 2012 when Manu Tuilagi and Co. got going. You've got the Vunipola brothers as well, who offer great ball-carrying ability, while Willi Heinz brings a bit of Kiwi flavour off the bench.

It's going to be an interesting game and why we all tune in to watch World Cup rugby.

World Cups are a transitional time, with players and coaches finishing their careers once their tournaments are at an end. Ireland coach Joe Schmidt has had an absolutely amazing run, he's done some great things for Irish rugby on the whole. Saturday's defeat will have been a bitter pill to swallow but I think when he sits back and reflects, Schmidt will realise what an excellent job he has done. He has been outstanding for them and I hope he pops up somewhere in the future because the game of rugby needs coaches like him.

Having the World Cup in Japan and seeing the way they have embraced their own team, along with everyone else, it has just been a great occasion.

I've heard talk of looking to America for 2027 but they're not knocking down the door, and there is too much focus on money. It shouldn't be about money, it is about growing the game and I think what we've seen from Uruguay and Argentina, especially this year, that South America would be a great place to host the World Cup.

It has been a wonderful tournament. Well done, Japan.