Reminders can prove powerful drivers in sport.

The All Blacks spent last week telling everyone their recent history with Ireland was irrelevant. To a large degree they were right. They proved they are now a vastly different team to last year.

Yet there was a degree of history — the part where they lost their last test to Ireland — that did matter.


It matters because defeat, and near-defeat, lingers in the pit of the stomach.

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The discernible mental edge the All Blacks displayed so ruthlessly in the way they started against Ireland, particularly on defence and in the