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All Blacks ramp up pressure ahead of test against Ireland

(AP) -- All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has wound up pressure on his New Zealand-born Ireland counterpart Joe Schmidt ahead of Saturday's test in Dublin between rugby's top-ranked teams, arguing the winner will be indisputably the best in the world.

The All Blacks have enjoyed an almost unbroken reign at No. 1 since rankings began and Ireland has climbed steadily to No. 2 under Schmidt, beating the All Blacks for the first time in 115 years with a victory in Chicago in 2016. A year out from the ninth Rugby World Cup, the test in Dublin offers rugby fans a sample of what a 2019 final could potentially look like.

Ireland won't overtake New Zealand for the No. 1 ranking even with a win on Saturday, but Hansen had a reason for suggesting they might take some favoritism into the World Cup from such a victory.

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