The All Blacks should send an immediate message to the other World Cup contenders, one which is delivered by their forwards against Tonga in what is likely to be quite a brutal game tonight.

The All Blacks will probably go for a wider game but that's not what the plan should be. I'd really like them to concentrate on using more forward play and have a real crack at the Tongans up front. For a start, this will prepare them for major forward challenges against a team like England. It will also prevent our players being opened up to big hits against Tonga, a team that will thrive if they can get a few heavy shots in.

We began the 1987 tournament with a 70-point win over Italy and this All Black team has the ability to do likewise against Tonga. The All Black plan should be to rip their hearts out early on. If they don't and Tonga stays in the contest, they will grow and grow.

We certainly don't want any form of trip-up. The All Black pack needs to be hell-bent on sending a message - that they mean business. In other words, destroy every scrum, blow Tonga off the field at ruck and maul, smash the hell out of them on defence.

I'd really like to see the forwards driving the ball through the middle, using the pick and go. The only time we have done this in the past few years was in the second half of the recent test against Australia.

The All Blacks have used this tactic intermittently near opponents' goal lines but not often enough in general play and it's time they reverted to this hard-nosed game.

The All Blacks certainly won't be hampered by any complacency, having lost their last two tests. This will give them an edge and they will want to prove a point to all the critics.

I'm at ease with the team selection for this match but Graham Henry needs to learn the lessons from the last World Cup. The All Blacks have to give all their players a game and this is the best time to ensure that happens.

By the same token, we don't need wholesale changes from here on. The selections must be kept tight. I hope this will not be 2007 all over again - it can't be rotation, rotation, rotation.

The likelihood is that the top lineup will start against Japan and changes will occur quickly during that match. The top lineup - with perhaps a couple of exceptions - should also be selected for the final pool game against Canada.

Tonight's match can set the tone for the tournament and I'm expecting a wonderful occasion. The reception for the Tongans this week was amazing - I never realised there were so many Tongans living here. Samoa and Tonga are not here to make up the numbers either. Tonga will fight to the death if the All Blacks give them a chance.