One half of the "Nick and Dick Show" – the two men responsible for making rugby's World Cup a reality – believes it's too early to pick how the All Blacks will fare at this year's event.
Whakatāne's Dick Littlejohn said the team's fate would unfold with time but admits he was impressed with their performance against the Springboks on Saturday.
"I had the creeps for about quarter of an hour," Littlejohn said. "They were struggling, they were three points down and they were struggling.
"It was a great effort to come back from that."
Littlejohn and Australia's Sir Nicholas Shehadie (who died last year aged 92), have long been recognised as the two men who bought about the inaugural Rugby World Cup despite a mountain of opposition from around the globe.
In the 1980s the pair hit the roads to convince the rest of the world to take part in a new competition. England in particular wasn't too keen on the concept of a Rugby World Cup but eventually fell into line.
Since its inception the event has grown but, according to Littlejohn, he and Shehadie predicted that. "We knew it would, there was never any doubt in our minds - it was just getting the first one off the ground that was tough.
"Imagine if we had failed."
The 88-year-old sees Ireland as the biggest challenge for the All Blacks for the Webb Ellis trophy but is hopeful the "marvellous kids" in black will be up to it.
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"I managed them for a while [the 1984 – 85 All Blacks]. That's all they are, kids. They were about the same age as my boys when I was managing the team so I understood them."
One thing Littlejohn said he will not ever forget is the incredible amount of pressure players and management are under, especially on a world stage.
"I'd only been appointed as manager for an hour or so before I realised the pressure on everyone – it was immense.
"In 1987 it was different. They [the players] were still amateurs. As professionals, on top of everything else, what they're doing is also their livelihood."
Littlejohn said he knew a few of the current players and admitted Aaron Smith was one of his favourites.
"He's a good fulla, he always has a sparkle in his eye and a permanent grin."
Asked if he was proud to have been instrumental in something that, every four years, grips and nation and holds it spellbound for weeks, Littlejohn answered: "oh hell yes".
"They were the greatest days of my life."
Littlejohn is a life member of Bay of Plenty Rugby after serving on the Union's executive in various roles since 1963.
He is the Bay of Plenty Rugby Patron and was last year elected as a life member of New Zealand Rugby. He served on the NZR Council (1981-1988), was All Blacks manager (1984-1985), a recipient of the NZR Steinlager Salver for outstanding service (2014) and an inductee to the IRB Hall of Fame in 2011.