The All Blacks are on the brink of the Rugby Championship - starting with two Bledisloe Cup tests against old rivals Australia - but the World Cup in Japan in 2019 is on the horizon too and skipper Kieran Read believes his team's recent struggles against the British & Irish Lions might be crucial in helping them win it.
Speaking before departing for Sydney as they begin the preparations for next Saturday's clash against the Wallabies, Read said the pressure Warren Gatland's team put on the All Blacks over the course of the drawn series, and the lessons learned from it, might have laid the foundation for success in a couple of years' time.
Simply put, the All Blacks' skills were found wanting against the Lions, particularly in the third test at Eden Park where the home side had chances to score after breaching the defence but for whatever reason couldn't convert.
Read and his side have their first chance to express that disappointment at ANZ Stadium against Michael Cheika's men but are taking a longer-term view as well.
Read had more reasons that most to be frustrated at the result of the last test, a 15-all draw, given he was hoping to celebrate his 100th test in a more appropriate manner and had won the penalty in the final minutes only to see referee Romain Poite change his mind.
"At the time it did, yeah," Read said when asked whether he was "hacked off".
"But it's something you've got to take. It's reality, so we've certainly thought a bit about it since. We have to really make sure it helps us. We've got a good couple of years coming up and something pretty big after two years in the World Cup; similar types of pressures and things that we learned from a month ago.
"A lot of young men came in and played. The type of pressure it was, it certainly matched some of those big matches in World Cups - one-off games. To get that experience first-hand for a lot of guys will be really beneficial."
Steve Hansen and his management team have put the series under the microscope and improving the All Blacks' skill levels and reactions under stress have been major conclusions.
Read said: "Hopefully we show in this Championship and especially these Bledisloe Cup games what we've learned.
"It's a game of small margins and other teams are chasing us and getting close. What we can't do is rest and sit where we are, we have to continually push ourselves forward... I believe when we do that we're certainly hard to beat."
His loose forward teammate Sam Cane said of the All Blacks recent performances: "We'd done 90 per cent of the work and the last 10 per cent we didn't quite get right. It was good to bring it back up and go over it."
He added: "Hopefully in a couple of years' time at the big dance we can look back and in a funny way be thankful for it."
Read said Wallabies coach Michael Cheika will have his team fired up and with a point to prove after their Super Rugby failures against New Zealand teams this year.
"I expect a pretty strong team and a pretty strong effort from them," Read said. "They have a coach with a pretty dominant in his mindset. He wants to win games, he wants to beat up other teams and that's what he's probably imprinted. He's had a month to work on things that he thinks he needs to. I've experienced a Wallabies team over a number of years who have played above what they've done in Super Rugby. This year will be no different.
"They're always a talented team... it will be a massive game in Sydney and we've got to be prepared for that.
"For us it doesn't get any bigger."