COMMENT:

Last week we mentioned, in a blasé kind of way, that the All Blacks were about to line up for their ninth quarter-final in nine World Cups. The reasons rankings didn't get all gooey about such a stat is that it's unthinkable that the All Blacks would get knocked out in pool play – there just aren't enough good teams.

This week they're preparing for their eighth semifinal in nine World Cups. Now that is freakin' bat-guano crazy. Wherever you're reading this, think about the sustained level of excellence such a record requires then slowly rise from wherever you're

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7. France 43 New Zealand 31 (London, 1999)

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6. Australia 16 New Zealand 6 (Dublin, 1991)

5. Australia 22 New Zealand 10 (Sydney, 2003)

4. New Zealand 20 South Africa 18 (London, 2015)

3. New Zealand 49 Wales 6 (Brisbane, 1987)

2. New Zealand 20 Australia 6 (Eden Park, 2011)

1. New Zealand 45 England 29 (Cape Town, 1995)