I was a teenager the first time the All Blacks competed for the Rugby World Cup.

It was 1987 - I wouldn't take up the game for another year, and by and large other things dominated my interests in those days, though I couldn't tell you what they are now.

However, that image of captain David Kirk lifting the winners' trophy made a huge impression, one that perhaps endured because for so long it was a painful memory of opportunities lost.

Of 1991 when we lost in the semis to my generation's great rugby nemesis the Wallabies.

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Of 1995 and

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