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New Zealand beats Australia 20-6 in semifinal

Updated: October 16, 2011, 05:50


AUCKLAND, New Zealand(AP) New Zealand will face France in the final of the Rugby World Cup after beating archrival Australia 20-6 in a semifinal Sunday, drawing a giant step closer to ending a 24-year quest for its second world title.

The All Blacks relieved the anxiety of a nation starved of World Cup success since 1987 by physically dominating Australia from the moment Wallabies flyhalf Quade Cooper miscued the opening kickoff, establishing commanding advantages of possession and territory.

The New Zealanders achieved a 52 percent share of possession and 64 percent share of territory with ferocious tackling and a firm, physical authority at the breakdown. Armed with those advantages it let loose a backline, managed superbly by rookie flyhalf Aaron Cruden, in which almost every player leveled an attacking threat.

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