AP NEWS

All Blacks, England set to unveil World Cup semifinal squads

October 24, 2019
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New Zealand players stretch during a training session in Tokyo, Japan, Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019. The All Blacks play England in a Rugby World Cup semifinal in Yokohama on Saturday Oct. 26. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
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New Zealand players stretch during a training session in Tokyo, Japan, Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019. The All Blacks play England in a Rugby World Cup semifinal in Yokohama on Saturday Oct. 26. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

TOKYO (AP) — Tension starts building again at the Rugby World Cup when New Zealand coach Steve Hansen and his England counterpart Eddie Jones unveil their squads for the semifinals.

The two-time defending champion All Blacks go into Saturday’s knockout game at Yokohama as favorites after remaining unbeaten at the World Cup since 2007.

England’s improvement since a disappointing group-stage exit when it hosted the tournament in 2015 means the semifinal match will be hotly contested.

The semifinals this weekend feature teams from the southern hemisphere against teams from the northern hemisphere, a contrast to the 2015 edition when New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Argentina filled the last four.

South Africa is expected to announce its team on Thursday for Sunday’s semifinal against Wales. The Welsh are expected to wait until the traditional 48-hour deadline before announcing a team on Friday.

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