New Zealand’s All Blacks Confront a Worrisome Prospect: Decline

A series of defeats by New Zealand’s All Blacks has led to a humbling drop in the world rankings, and concern that the team might not have what it takes to bounce back this time.

AUCKLAND, New Zealand — When New Zealand’s All Blacks face South Africa on Saturday in the opening match of the annual four-nation Rugby Championship, it will be one of the few times in their decorated history that they have played as underdogs.

For 119 years, the All Blacks have dominated men’s rugby union. Three World Cup titles. An all-time winning percentage of nearly 80 percent. No country on earth has a winning record against them. Only

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