They won't be winning the 2019 Rugby World Cup, but the All Blacks will still leave the tournament having won the hearts of Japanese fans.

The All Blacks were knocked out of the semifinals 19-7 by England at Yokohama Stadium after a lacklustre performance - one which no one will take harder than the players themselves.

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Shortly after the final whistle though, the All Blacks gathered themselves, lined up and approached the sideline to bow – as they have for every match so far – and thank the crowd for their support.

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The All Blacks then lined up to form a guard of honour as the English side departed the pitch.

The All Blacks form an honour guard after losing to England. Photo / Mark Mitchell
The All Blacks form an honour guard after losing to England. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Earlier in the tournament, All Blacks captain Kieran Read explained the reason behind his side's consistent gesture.

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"It's really important for us to connect as much as we can with the Japanese people. We know that they love us as All Blacks, but we need to show a bit of love back to them.

"Their support's been fantastic so far and we saw that tonight – there's plenty of fans with the black jerseys which is fantastic. We want to enjoy this tournament, get out and see as many people as we can, and hopefully win some more fans."

All Blacks after New Zealand v England. Photo / Photosport
All Blacks after New Zealand v England. Photo / Photosport

Meanwhile, speaking to media after the clash, All Blacks halfback Aaron Smith summed up the mood among the All Blacks camp.

"I'm very disappointed, still a bit shocked, but full credit to England they had a plan and they executed it," Smith said.

"It's a big year and we had a few years preparation for this tournament. I don't know what to say… you feel like you've let everyone down.

"I'm really gutted for New Zealand and gutted for the guys leaving. It's really disappointing. High-performance sport isn't fair and we fell on the end of that stick tonight."

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Patrick and Gregor review the All Blacks RWC semi-final loss to England outside International Stadium Yokohama. Video / Mark Mitchell

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