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All Blacks lock Sam Whitelock says everyone is frustrated the All Blacks v Italy game was cancelled.
OPINION:First things first. The All Blacks will be undercooked for their Rugby World Cup quarterfinal next Saturday night in Tokyo. They just have to hope that even half-baked they will be too much for Ireland, Japan or Scotland to handle.
The back-to-back champions’ preparation for the first knockout match of this now heavily contentious global tournament was thrown into turmoil with the controversial – but understandable – decision by World Rugby to cancel the two Saturday pool matches most affected by Super Typhoon Hagibis.
That was the All Blacks’ closing Pool B fixture against Italy in Toyota – expected to cop a lashing from the typhoon – and England’s last Pool C affair against cross-channel rivals France.
The England-France cancellation was relatively painless, with both sides guaranteed to progress to the quarterfinals anyway and Les Bleus seemingly content enough to sidle through as No 2 seeds for a quarterfinal matchup against Wales.
* Hansen right to protect players
* All Blacks typhoon options
* Whitelock: ABs wanted to play
* Eddie Jones’ typhoon near-miss
* Scotland threatens legal action
* ABs refused delayed game: reports
* Download Stuff’s RWC wallchart
* RWC results and pool standings
But the historic cancellations have upset the Italians who were a long shot to make the quarterfinals, providing they took care of the small matter of beating the All Blacks with a bonus point, and other things went their way. They are ropable to have been denied at least a crack.
Regardless, the All Blacks box on and must now make the best of the hand they’ve been dealt. They haven’t played a competitive test since the tournament-opening 23-13 victory over the Springboks on September 21 and will run out
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