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The All Blacks’ scoreless first half in Yokohama wasn’t the first time they had been blanked for the first 40 minutes of a Rugby World Cup match.
The 1991 All Blacks failed to register a point in the first half of their 16-6 semifinal loss to Australia in Dublin.
Alex Wyllie’s team produced a better effort than Steve Hansen’s 2019 group did in their 19-7 loss to England in Yokohama on Saturday night.
But the ’91 All Blacks struck a Wallabies team in vintage form.
* All Blacks’ worst RWC loss
* Five moments that cost New Zealand the Rugby World Cup semifinal
* New Zealand’s three-peat hopes over after heavy loss to England
* Did officials miss shoulder charge on Sevu Reece?
* Wales rejoice as they sniff a chance with All Blacks gone
Australia led 13-0 at halftime, leading first-five Michael Lynagh to later declare their opening stanza effort as “one of the best 40 minutes I’ve been involved in with an Australian team”.
The 2019 team trailed England 10-0 at halftime on Saturday night after rarely threatening the English line.
The parallels between 1991 and 2019 are portentous.
Like Kieran Read’s side this year, the ’91 All Blacks went into their World Cup as defending champions.
They had dominated world rugby in the years between World Cup tournaments, with Wyllie’s coaching record – like Hansen’s – up amongst the bes
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