COMMENT:

What a difference less than a year makes.

The All Blacks' World Cup defence, the bid for a glorious three-peat, has turned into a train wreck.

This week's controversies surrounding two of the Crusaders' All Blacks simply confirmed the impression that rugby's game of thrones will be one heck of a scrap.

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It's not all over of course. It never is with the All Blacks. But it is hard to imagine how things could get much worse for coach Steve Hansen, in his final year in charge.

The public's extraordinary fascination with the Israel Folau controversy in Australia has