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What a sorry way for Steve Hansen and Kieran Read to end their All Blacks careers.
The All Blacks, stunned 19-7 by England in the Rugby World Cup semifinal in Yokohama on Saturday night, have lost their chance for a title three-peat.
It’s farewell to Hansen and his captain, the great No 8 Read, who will retire after the dreaded third-fourth playoff game next weekend.
Yokohama was the All Blacks graveyard and the man who haunted then from the coaching box was Eddie Jones.
Jones, who spent all week toying with the media and fans like a mischievous private school boy executing pranks on his nanny, pulled off a magnificent heist in Japan.
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He told us that no-one rated his team, that even his wife supported the All Blacks and that his boys were being shown no respect by anyone apart from their mums and dads and his coaching staff.
Deep inside England’s bunker in Tokyo Bay, however, Jones had kept fuelling his players’ self-belief by telling them he was going to give them the game plan that would topple the team hunting the title three-peat.
England went out to out-play the All Blacks by playing as if it was they were the ones who had learned their craft in the Shaky Isles, and rugby in their DNA.
It only took a couple of minutes for England to reach boiling point, and their pack, which was led by young, talented flankers Sam Underhill and Tom Curry, tore into their work like wild bulldogs.
The All Blacks were simply not allowed to get much going, and when they did have their chances they blew them. The tactic of using Scott Barrett at blindside flanker didn’t work, but that wasn’t in isolation.
Nothing went right for the All Blacks.
Take your pick of the ugly moments in the second half, espec
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