Ben Smith All Blacks declare themselves ready for Cup defence

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The All Blacks declared themselves ready for their record World Cup triple crown bid Saturday after a thumping 92-7 victory over Tonga in Hamilton.

Ben Smith All Blacks
All Blacks

While Tonga are not a top 10 side and were never expected to pose a real threat, the size of the 14 try win ticked a lot of boxes for coach Steve Hansen.

“We’re exactly where we want to be,” Hansen said, adding that completing the match injury free was an added bonus two weeks before their opening World Cup match in Japan against South Africa.

He was even able to deliberately finish with only 14 players on the field to practice with a man down, should the occasion arise in Japan.

The All Blacks, world champions in 2011 and 2015, are gunning for a third consecutive title.

“We get on a plane on Monday to go and have a crack at something that’s never been done before, and we’re the only ones that can do it, so winning three in a row would be something really special,” said

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