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Radio Sport Mornings’ host Jason Pine counts down the top 15 sporting moments of the year. Today: All Blacks early Rugby World Cup exit.
The All Blacks went into the 2019 Rugby World Cup as two time defending champions.
Despite a couple of hiccups during the year – a 16-all draw with South Africa and a heavy loss to the Wallabies in Perth – New Zealand were still firm favourites to win a third straight tile.
The All Blacks’ favouritism seemed justified in their pool matches against South Africa, Canada and Namibia.
The fourth pool game against Italy was cancelled because of the typhoons that hit Japan, meaning the All Blacks finished top of their group and would face Ireland in the quarter-finals, where they produced a vintage performance.
England had also come through their pool unbeaten with wins over Tonga, the USA and Argentina, before their final pool game against France was also cancelled.
They then accounted comfortably for Australia 40-16 in their quarter-final.
And so it was to be a blockbuster semi-final between the All Blacks and England at the International Stadium in Yokohama.
England coach Eddie Jones ramped up the mind games early in the week with a gem of a press conference, while Steve Hansen p
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