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The reigning World Champions, the All Blacks, practically assured themselves of finishing top of Pool C at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, when they won their opening fixture against Argentina at Wembley Stadium. They have since beaten a dogged Namibia side at the Olympic Stadium by 58-14, and on Friday they will face another "minnow" in Cardiff, when Georgia will provide the opposition.
For New Zealand, playing in huge stadia in front of massive crowds, is the norm. For Georgia the Millennium Stadium and a crowd of 70,000 will be a unique occasion. Their first two Pool matches having been played in Gloucester, where the crowds were in the region of 14,000 fans. Although the Georgians are excited and honoured to be facing the All Blacks, in truth their focus is on their final Pool fixture, against Namibia, as victory in that contest will almost certainly guarantee third place in the final Pool standings. That won't see them into the knockout phase of the tournament, but it will ensure automatic qualification for the 2019 World Cup in Japan.
After the Georgia fixture, which the All Blacks should win comfortably, they will face another physical contest, against Tonga. Many pundits are raising the question of whether these games, where the Champions will inevitably win by 50+ points, will prepare them for the tougher challenges that lie ahead in the knockout phase, or will they be under cooked as has happened in the past.
Tags: Rugby World Cup
, Wembley Stadium
, New Zealand