NZ Rugby World

THE HARD SLOG OF FAVOURITISM

WINNING BACK-TO-BACK World Cups ain’t easy. So what does that make trying to win back-to-back-to-back?

No matter how good a team is, it’s hard to stay on top when there’s a big target on your back, when others are putting such a huge emphasis on negating your strengths, exploiting any sniff of a weakness.

Meantime, great players come and go, some of whose influence simply can’t be replaced, no matter how talented the latest batch out of the nursery are, no matter how much thought the coaches put into trying to stay ahead of the pack.

Add to that, the prospect of Japan 2019 actually living up to the tag of the toughest, most

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