When the All Black coaches needed to get stuck into the team they would zero in on Richie McCaw or another of the senior players.
It was a deliberate tactic to reverse the old concept of hammering the newest players in the group.
Longtime five eighths Dan Carter revealed to the Daily Mail that motivational method used by Steve Hansen and his management crew as he looked towards England's Grand Slam bid against France in Paris this weekend.
"The coaches normally pinpoint the captain," he said. "They will make examples of missed tackles or mistakes from the leaders of the team and that sets an amazing example.
"They don't pick on the young guys and that helps them feel like they're equal. It's a great trait.
"They don't go after guys who are always making mistakes either. They might pull them aside privately, but the team culture is to use examples of the best players making mistakes.
"That creates this togetherness and 'no one's better than anyone else' atmosphere. They'll pick out someone like Richie [McCaw]."
Carter said the strategy was part of the All Black ethos that the team was always bigger than the individual. That developed humility and if that attitude ever altered and players didn't take advice, they would slip out of the group.
While the All Blacks had lost a line of very experienced players, they would not have to do much rebuilding ahead of the June test series with Wales.
There was still a very experienced core group who had been in the All Black system for the last four years.
"It's the same coaching team and there's so much depth, I don't think a lot's going to change," Carter predicted.
Wales would back themselves and had three chances to make history while there was never any let up in expectation about the All Blacks. Next year would be even bigger with a visit from the Lions.
"That 2005 Lions tour was huge for New Zealand. As a Kiwi growing up you dream about playing them. There's already a lot of hype building back home and I think that will be a big barometer for the All Blacks."