COMMENT by Patrick McKendry in Tokyo:
The fear for many All Blacks fans before their team's World Cup quarter-final against Ireland was that it all seemed a bit 2007.
Instead, the accuracy and utter ruthlessness of the performance by Steve Hansen's men suggests it's all a bit 2015.
It's still relatively early days but beat England next Saturday and the title is as good as theirs again.
Instead of falling to a nemesis like they did in Cardiff 12 years ago (France on that occasion), the All Blacks pulverized Ireland at Tokyo Stadium, just like they did against the Tricolours in Cardiff four years ago.
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Ireland had of course beaten the All Blacks twice in three years before this 46-14 win and they were supremely confident they could do it again. They were the No 1 team in the world recently and fully expected to win their first World Cup knockout game here in Japan.
But the All Blacks were privately sure they had moved on significantly from that last defeat in Dublin in November and they proved it with a near-complete performance which was stunning in its assertiveness.
It was significant to hear Hansen say afterwards that the All Blacks don't need to be reminded of their losses. They never forget them.
In the end, a week after Typhoon Hagibis blew through, the Irish were hit by a perfect storm and the old ghosts were blown away.
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The thousands in green jerseys pouring out of the stadium and on to the train carriages afterwards seemed in reasonable spirits as the Irish generally are.
They were certainly still in good voice.
But this defeat will take some getting over for the players.
Their coach Joe Schmidt, who is now moving on, mentioned that losses leave scars and this one won't fade for many years.
England will be difficult at Yokohama Stadium – probably the most difficult challenge the All Blacks will face here.
The All Blacks' greatest challenge in the United Kingdom four years ago was that semifinal against the Springboks at Twickenham. They were on a knife-edge in that match, with a masterclass in control from Dan Carter and a crucial defensive lineout steal from Sam Whitelock contributing to a 20-18 victory on a wet afternoon in south-west London.
England showed against Australia that, a bit like the All Blacks, they have the ability to bring a near irresistible momentum to their attack.
In Jonny May they also have a finisher who can punish the smallest mistake with utter ruthlessness; again, that's similar to what the All Blacks do and in their case their back three of George Bridge, Beauden Barrett and Sevu Reece are in the form of their lives.
"Dublin Down" read the cute headlines after halfback Aaron Smith's two first-quarter tries put the pressure immediately on the Irish, and indeed Hansen is likely to double down against a big and bruising England side next Saturday.
He'll again put his faith in youthful enthusiasm combined with a playbook as sharp as a samurai sword.
Negotiate a way through England and the World Cup three-peat is as good as in the bag for the All Blacks.
The grand final week, should they make it, will quickly restore energy levels as will the chance to make history. A little fear could be helpful but it's the opposition who should be afraid because this is a team taking their game to new levels and re-defining the game itself.