There's a scene in the movie Shakespeare in Love when Geoffrey Rush, playing the impresario, a man who knows everything worth knowing about theatre, is asked "How do actors manage to turn the shambles of rehearsal, with jealousies and pride aflame and lines not learned or even written, into a show worth watching"?

I don't know, he says. It's a mystery.

Rugby's like that. How did England turn itself into a team that outplayed the All Blacks? How did the All Blacks, after the misery of their semifinal, do the same against Wales? How did Japan manage it against Ireland?

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