Brodie Retallick The big talking points from the Rugby World Cup

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Stuff journalists Jackson Thomas and Duncan Johnstone discuss the final matches of the Rugby World Cup.

OPINION: There’s plenty of takeaways from a weekend that saw the All Blacks crash out of the Rugby World Cup, and England and South Africa march on.

Stuffsport scribes Jackson Thomas and Duncan Johnstone weigh in on all the action from that semifinal, and cast an eye forward to the two remaining matches.

Biggest talking point out of Saturday’s loss?

JT: What New Zealand gave up for third (at best)

Brodie Retallick Steve Hansen's final match at the helm will be against Wales, in the battle for third.

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Steve Hansen’s final match at the helm will be against Wales, in the battle for third.

All the sabbaticals and player rotation that have gone on to the detriment of the local game was fine when it was in the pursuit of a three-peat. But Saturday’s loss means the provincial and Super Rugby game has suffered for a third place play-off game.

I feel for the players, yes they were the ones out there but they didn’t go out to lose. Questions have to be asked at an administration level, specifically what was sacrificed in the lead-up to this tournament.

Brodie Retallick Maro Itoje was nearly unstoppable against the All Blacks.

Eugene Hoshiko

Maro Itoje was nearly unstoppable against the All Blacks.

DJ: How unpredictable and ruthless a World Cup is

Two Cup cycles of success seemed to have New Zealand as a country virtually forgetting all those horror shows from 1991 to 2007, but reality returned to bite the All Blacks and their supporters.

It’s hard to remember a match where the All Blacks were so comprehensively outplayed and I rate this as their worst World Cup exit, even trumping the 2007 quarterfinal shocker against France. The All Blacks were clueless then but they were simply powerless this time.

It’s been pleasing to see the country adopt a more mature attitude to this latest setback, probably because we’ve won a few now.

Brodie Retallick Faf de Klerk has been one of South Africa's best throughout the World Cup.

Hannah Peters/Getty Images

Faf de Klerk has been one of South Africa’s best throughout the World Cup.

More a case of good England or bad All Blacks?

JT: Good England

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