Their World Cup wake up call banked away, the All Blacks will now head to Japan safe in the knowledge they are ready for the pressure cookers that await.

Exhale New Zealand, the Bledisloe remains under lock and key for a 17th year – retaining the William Webb Ellis crown is next on the agenda.

The nature of the passion and scrutiny surrounding the All Blacks is such that hysteria has long been a bedfellow.


The All Blacks are not unbeatable – nor are they in irreversible free-fall.

After backing themselves into a corner, albeit a comfortable one in