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Every selection, every opponent, every training camp – just about every decision Eddie Jones has made in the last two and a half years – has been geared toward 5 p.m. Yokohama time on Oct 26, when England face New Zealand in the World Cup semifinals.

As soon as the May 2017 draw was complete, Jones knew England and the All Blacks were on a likely collision course in the last four and that if he were to achieve his stated goal of lifting the Webb Ellis Cup, he would have to get past them first.

As probably the most dominant international team in all sport, the All Blacks are a hurdle not many have overcome. They are seeking an unprecedented third successive title and have not lost a World Cup match since France shocked them in the quarterfinals 12 years ago.

The numbers hardly look any better for England when they assess their own record against New Zealand

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