With their quarter final match against either France or Ireland just over a week away, the All Blacks need a big effort against Tonga at St James' Park to convince themselves and their fans that they are ready for the knock out phase of the World Cup.
For whatever reason, and many have been given, they haven't yet hit their straps and so the Tongan game is a golden opportunity to eradicate the sloppy performances that have plagued them so far and to put together 80 minutes that doesn't consist of poor judgement and execution.
Tonga and the All Blacks have played each other four times, three of those at Rugby World Cups, and the All Blacks have comfortably won all four but in the process the Islanders physical and confrontational style has been difficult to combat as the French discovered in New Zealand four years ago.
Steve Hansen has rightly kept the likes of Richie McCaw and Charlie Faumuina out of this game, citing slight injuries, which under normal circumstances would be ignored. However the squad has plenty of depth so not a great deal will be lost with the changes.
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There is still healthy competition in a couple of areas for a spot in Cardiff next week, with the starting wingers and props at the forefront. This week Julian Savea, who looks to have the number 11 jersey wrapped up, sits it out while Waisake Naholo and Nehe Milner-Skudder put their excellent credentials on the line. It's back to the old firm of Tony Woodcock and Owen Franks to start in the front row but the hamstring niggle to Faumuina means that we don't really know the selectors thinking in that area.
St James's Park has a proud history, although currently Newcastle United are having a dreadful run in the Premier League, so let's hope the All Blacks can put a smile on the face of the northerners and turn on a vintage performance.
Australia has beaten Wales in their last 10 matches and there's little reason to think that the sequence will be broken at Twickenham on Saturday. The Wallabies have surprised many north of the equator at this tournament but New Zealand fans have had plenty of warning after the loss in the opening Bledisloe Cup test in Sydney.
Michael Cheika has worked wonders with this squad and although Michael Hooper will sit this one out with suspension, they should be able to get over the top of a Welsh team that is playing with plenty of heart and plenty of injuries. Obviously there is plenty at stake in this game with the winner topping the Pool and at the neutral venue of Twickenham the Australians will have good deal more support than they normally would in Cardiff.
Speaking of Cardiff, the Millennium Stadium is the venue for the other big match of the weekend, France against Ireland. The ramifications here are immense - the winner avoids the All Blacks in the quarters while the loser can look forward to a meeting with the world champions at the same venue. There has been a lot of talk from a lot of teams at this tournament about not showing your hand too early and Ireland most certainly has not thrown all the cards on the table too early.
Their form has been patchy and the narrow win last week against Italy was an average effort against a side that, admittedly, is also difficult to break down. The French have World Cup history in spades and any form book which relates to French rugby can usually be discarded, particularly at this tournament. It would be romantic for the All Blacks to face the French in the quarter finals and try and exact revenge after the 2007 debacle, but secretly I think they'd rather play Ireland in Cardiff next week with the knowledge that Ireland has never been able to topple them.