Two World Cup titles, one as head coach, with the chance to add a second next month in Japan, and yet Steve Hansen knows all too well New Zealand rugby's fickle nature dictates his last, pinnacle assignment carries significant weight to the final perception of his tenure.
Preside over any other nation and Hansen's legacy would be off to the engravers, if not already etched in stone. In a sport where very little separates the top rivals, Hansen's near 89 per cent win record with the All Blacks, which features nine losses in 101 tests since 2012, is nothing short of phenomenal.
Longevity at the elite level alone is no easy feat – just ask Stuart Lancaster, Heyneke Meyer or Ewen McKenzie.
Only a few weeks ago, though, after the All Blacks conceded their most points in history in Perth, did Hansen receive a timely reminder that a third straight Webb Ellis Cup is not so much expected, as demanded.
Never mind this World Cup being the most open in history – South Africa, England, Ireland, Wales all laying claims to contender status.
Expectations on the All Blacks never change. Win or bust leaves no room for perspective or reflection but that is the constant, common thread attached to the prestigious black jersey.
Hansen wants the World Cup campaign to be about anything but his final bow. Such is the driven team-first attitude this side fosters, his last stand will continue to be pushed aside. Hansen's shadow, though, undoubtedly hovers over this 31-man squad's quest to again create history.
For eight years now this has been Hansen's team. Japan, therefore, marks the end of a remarkably successful era, and one way or the other, the imminent changing of the guard. Hansen has endured blips, sure, both major and minor. The drawn Lions series will long rankle, not solely for the officiating blunder that marred the third test conclusion but for the failure of the All Blacks to execute so many first half attacking opportunities.
Dual losses to Ireland, the first in history and first in Dublin, are unwanted records but they also reflect Joe Schmidt's transformation of a deeply-passionate heavyweight that was duly recognised as World Rugby team of the year in 2018.
For each rare, deflating defeat under Hansen, much more pain has been inflicted on others.
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Short memories forget in his second year at the helm, after stepping up from his role alongside Graham Henry and Wayne Smith following the drought-breaking 2011 World Cup triumph, Hansen swiftly ushered in a new generation of talent which repaid faith with the first unbeaten season of the professional era.
Fourteen tests unblemished in that 2013 year – 10 of those against teams ranked two to five.
The fact that feat is yet to be replicated speaks to the difficulty of navigating intangible challenges, particularly in the current climate of evenly matched teams and inconsistent, zero tolerance officiating.
Not once has the treasured Bledisloe Cup left New Zealand shores on Hansen's watch, and who will ever forget the revenge-extacting 62-13 French beating in the World Cup quarter-final in Cardiff four years ago?
Hansen's reign features many special comebacks, too. The resolve to flip precarious positions on their head is testament to the team's mental strength and belief.
The great escape in Dublin sits top for the way the All Blacks overturned a 19-0 deficit after 20 minutes to finish with one of the most clinical and composed tries, only to need a second Aaron Cruden conversion to clinch victory.
But from Ellis Park, where the All Blacks survived two yellow cards in 2013 – my personal favourite test of all time – to Dunedin, Pretoria, Brisbane and Twickenham, many such instances typify this tenure.
There can be few, if any, complaints about the style of rugby, either.
Hansen's promotion of Aaron Smith and his rapid, long, sweeping pass has formed the backbone of the endeavour to chase width and run opposition off the park.
Typically this approach has been mixed with ruthless physicality, though this aspect will come under intense scrutiny in Japan.
As top dog Hansen has generally selected superbly and retained a sense of calm amid the madness test rugby brings. Along the way his public persona has dramatically improved – evolving from gruff and argumentative to the unflustered dry humour and quick wit we now witness.
The past 12 months have not been a glamour period for the All Blacks with struggles against defensive line speed, which first reared their head against the Lions, continuing to cause headaches.
The No 1 ranking has also been lost, and however credible that may be, with Wales and then Ireland taking over top spot, it does enhance others' belief while diminishing the fear factor.
Vulnerabilities have been evident against England, Ireland, South Africa, Australia and Argentina, though in recent months these can be balanced, somewhat, against elements of experimentation in preparation for the World Cup.
Injuries to key figures haven't helped, and the All Blacks don't boast the same settled depth and experience as they did four years ago.
But when you have someone with Hansen's conviction at the top of the tree, apples often fall at the right time.
Should they do so again soon, Japan would be the greatest triumph of them all.
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