England face the daunting prospect of an all-conquering New Zealand side in Saturday's World Cup semi-final. But how does this current All Blacks side compare to their XV at previous World Cups? Here are the New Zealand World Cup teams ranked.
This was a side that ought to have done better, much better, only to be caught in the headlights by France on a dramatic night at the Millennium Stadium in the quarter-final, losing 20-18. It was a defeat that caused misery to thousands of All Blacks supporters who were in the air at the time, fully expecting to land and take in the semi-final in France with their team going strong for honours.
Eddie Jones was to account for New Zealand at this tournament as the Australian out-foxed his opposite number, a certain John Mitchell, now on England's coaching staff, as the Wallabies got the better of All Blacks fly-half, Carlos Spencer, in the semi-final.
Another All Blacks side that was only beaten by genius, this time in the shape of a France team that rolled back the stone from the seeming dead at Twickenham to score 33 unanswered points and win the semi-final 43-31, a seismic shock to the entire New Zealand nation.
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New Zealand opened their account with a convincing 18-12 win over England at Twickenham and looked destined for honours only to be unstitched by the brilliant Wallaby wing, David Campese, in the semi-final at Lansdowne Road, the All Blacks losing 16-6.
New Zealand finally got the monkey off their back with their first World Cup triumph in 24 years but it was close, damn close, as they somehow held on to deny France, 8-7, in a nerve-shredder at Eden Park. The All Blacks fretted but came through – just.
Steve Hansen's side is shaping up to emulate several of their predecessors with an all-court game that can go toe-to-toe with strong set-piece sides such as South Africa or England but also cut loose with devastating effect through the likes of Beauden Barrett.
The side that should have cleared all before them but didn't manage to, losing 15-12 to the Nelson Mandela-inspired Springboks on their first appearance at a World Cup post their exclusion. Jonah Lomu announced himself to the world with several thunderous performances but destiny insisted that the Rainbow Nation should prevail.
The Gang of Five greats brought the bounty home as the All Blacks became the first side to win back-to-back titles with captain, Richie McCaw, leading the way, aided and abetted by able lieutenants such as fly-half, Dan Carter, centres, Conrad Smith and Ma'a Nonu, as well as hooker, Keven Mealamu.
The All Blacks romped to the inaugural title, confirming what was known at the time that they were the best team in the world with apartheid South Africa on the outside. That team, led by David Kirk and subsequently Buck Shelford, went on to a record run of 23 Tests without defeat.