It was just before the start of the 1987 Rugby World Cup that All Blacks assistant coach John Hart called us to one side.
New Zealand was still deeply divided by the Cavaliers' trip to
South Africa the previous
year, following so soon after the highly controversial Springboks tour to the country in 1981.
On top of that, we had been well beaten in our last outing - the ill-tempered "battle of Nantes" against the French late in 1986. So when the World Cup finally came around, we were desperate for redemption, a chance to show our people – and the world – that we were better than that.
Expecting a big team talk, John had a surprisingly simple message: "New Zealand is split. We've got to win back the people."
That was all the motivation we needed and, I believe, a key moment on our path to winning the Webb Ellis trophy that year.
With the start of the 2019 World Cup tournament only hours away, the rugby landscape looks a lot different but the level of emotion the game evokes from Kiwis from all walks of life remains as relevant as ever.
As fans we can be unforgiving, even cruel – we expect the All Blacks to win, to always go forward. Rugby is in our fabric, it's who we are and we don't take kindly to failure. Nor should we.
The World Cup is the pinnacle of a player's career - the Olympic Games of rugby. This year, the All Blacks have a chance at history – claiming an unprecedented three-peat.
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Much like 32 years ago, the team have their doubters. We've heard how they're not the team they once were, how they're a spent force, how injuries to key players will stop this campaign in their tracks, that there are just too many unknowns before the first match against the Springboks.
What we do know, is that come tomorrow, Kieran Read and his men will each grow an extra foot taller when they pull on that black jersey.
Let's bring it back.
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