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TOKYO (AP) — It’s one thing to beat the All Blacks in Chicago or Dublin. It’s an entirely different challenge at the Rugby World Cup, where they feel right at home.
Defending champion New Zealand scored seven tries in a 46-14 demolition of Ireland on Saturday to move into a semifinal against England, which beat Australia 40-16 earlier in Oita.
The result was virtually beyond doubt by halftime, when the All Blacks led 22-0, and the continuance of two opposing streaks seemed certain.
New Zealand extended its unbeaten run at the World Cup since an upset quarterfinal loss to France in 2007. Ireland is now 0-8 in World Cup knockout games.
The Irish may never have felt more confident, after their drought-breaking win over the All Blacks in Chicago in 2016 and another victory in Dublin last November that capped a year that included a Six Nations Grand Slam.
They were ranked No. 1 ahead of the tournament, but were never in the contest at Tokyo Stadium.
Scrumhalf Aaron Smith crossed for a pair of tries from close range and Beauden Barrett finished off a long-range try against the run of play in the first half, and the All Blacks added four more tries in the second half. The All Blacks, winners of the first World Cup in 1987 and the last two, are shaping up well for a third consecutive title.
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