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All Blacks prepared for penalty shootout: 'Out of the forwards, I'd definitely back myself'

The scenario may be an unlikely one, but it’s something the All Blacks will be prepared for if it does eventuate.

If the scores are all tied up after 80 minutes in any of the World Cup’s knockout fixtures, then up to 30 minutes of further extra time may be played.

If a winner is still not found after 110 minutes of high-intensity Test rugby, it all comes down to a penalty shootout.

It’s an outcome that has been discussed amongst the All Blacks – even if it may not be their key focus heading into their semifinal fixture with England.

“It’s unlikely it will be decided that way,” said Steve Hansen. “Have we prepared for that? We know those are the rules, so yes.”

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“You’d be foolish if you hadn’t prepared for it but I would be highly surprised if after 80 minutes, then 10 minutes each way, then sudden-death extra-time – by which time there’ll be bugger all people standing – that someone hasn’t scored some points.”

Penalty shootouts are one of the rarest occurrences in professional rugby. The last time one was required to decide a major match was in a World Rugby Under 20 Championship game between Wales and Argentina in 2010.

The two sides were tied up 19-all after extra time in the 5th-place semifinals and it was only after 9 kicks apiece that the teams were able to be separated, with Argentina emerging victorious.

Arguably the most famous shootout took place in 2009 in a Heineken Cup semifinal between Leicester and Cardiff.

Over 44,000 fans turned up to see the likes of Martyn Williams, Jordan Crane and Craig Newby all take shots at goal.

We won’t spoil the result for you; it’s an excellent (if not somewhat unusual) watch.

Should New Zealand be faced with a penalty shootout in the coming weeks, who would be called upon to take the kicks at goal?

Obviously regular placekickers Richie Mo’unga, Beauden Barrett and Jordie Barrett would get first crack at the posts, but who would be asked to step up to the mark once they’d slotted their kicks?

Given that two of the Barretts would have already been called upon, you would imagine that Scott would also like to get in on the action – he certainly hasn’t shut down his chances.

“Depending on injuries. … I’m sure there’d be a few backs first,” Barrett said at a midweek press conference.

“We’d have to be quite short. Out of the forwards, I’d definitely back myself, sure.”

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You would imagine that the likes of Ryan Crotty, TJ Perenara and George Bridge would be outside chances if they were on the field at the end of the game.

In the forwards, Dane Coles would probably be one of the first to step up – so too, Brodie Retallick.

As Steve Hansen said, however, we’ll likely have to settle for a match decided in the first 80 minutes plus extra time.

“But funnier things have happened, eh? I don’t know if they got the cricket one right really.”

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All Blacks prepared for penalty shootout: 'Out of the forwards, I'd definitely back myself'