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England revel in the status of underdogs as they aim to “knock off” the all-conquering New Zealand
New Zealand turned heads when they named Scott Barrett, usually a second row, at blindside flanker
The teams have met 41 times since their first encounter in 1905, the All Blacks winning 33 times
Yokohama: Reigning champions New Zealand and England clash in a heavyweight Rugby World Cup semi-final on Saturday after a build-up marked by spying claims and a game of tactical cat-and-mouse.
The All Blacks are defending a record 18-match World Cup winning streak dating back 12 years as they look to cement the legacy of departing coach Steve Hansen with their third straight title, and fourth overall.
England revel in the status of ‘underdogs’ heading into the semi-final clash against New Zealand. AP
England, ranked second in the world behind New Zealand, revel in the status of underdogs as they aim to “knock off” the all-conquering Kiwis, in the words of their coach Eddie Jones.
But the 2003 champions and two-time runners-up have blossomed into a fearsome unit under the wise-cracking Australian, who knows what it takes to spring an upset at the World Cup.
In 2003, Jones’s Wallabies team mugged New Zealand — then under John Mitchell, England’s current defence coach — in the semi-finals, before narrowly losing the final to Clive Woodward’s English side.
And at the last World Cup in 2015, he masterminded Japan’s titanic 34-32 shock of South Africa, considered the greatest upset in World Cup history.
The prize for both teams is a final next Saturday at the same venue, the Int
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