When England made their first tour of New Zealand in 1963, they were the Five Nations champions but little was known about their squad.
Only five-eighths Phil Horrocks-Taylor had played against the All Blacks as a replacement for the 1959 visit from the Lions. The All Blacks had last toured the UK in 1953 so the rugby intelligence on England was very limited.
"We couldn't pick up anything about their players because of the lack of information," recalled Don McKay who played on the right wing for the All Blacks in the test series win.
McKay played five tests in the famous black jersey, games that were sandwiched between the 1960 tour to South Africa and the 63-64 visit to the UK.
Injury, then a line-ball selection, meant he missed those two significant tours but the 76-year-old former pharmacist has never lost his passion and connection to the national sport.
"I am still on my sabbatical," he joked as he looked forward to tonight's opening test with England at Eden Park.
Since his playing days, McKay's been a committee man and coach, president of the ARU, club captain and life member of the Barbarians, and has only missed tests at Eden Park if he has been overseas.
His eyesight is sharp enough to watch games without binoculars but like many, he struggles with the laws and rulings.
"I thought I knew the rules inside out, they were all in a small book when I played," he said. "Now I wonder if they are making rules for referees to be occupied."
McKay cannot fathom why kicks are ruled out or dead if a receiver plants his foot over the sideline or dead ball line, nor why tackled players are allowed to crawl forward and not release possession.
He is staggered at the size of modern players, and while he admires their fitness and conditioning he says skills in his era were just as good, and players were not as regimented and had to think for themselves.
One of his saddest days was discovering how ill Jonah Lomu was during his All Black career. He and others were sworn to secrecy during the early treatment of his kidney problem and it used to frustrate and madden McKay when he heard people criticising the wing.
"I knew what his health was like and it was extraordinary how he played with that sort of constraint."
One of Lomu's signed jerseys is in McKay's collection, along with his own first test garb and that of his French opposite Jean Dupuy from their clash in 1961.
McKay scored with his first touch that day when his great mate Des Connor, who was also on debut, passed to another rookie Neil Wolfe who transferred to McKay to dive over in the corner.
McKay's preferred position was second five-eighths but after coach Fred Allen shifted the sprint champion to the wing against Taranaki and he scored three tries, there was no return.
He reckoned Terry O'Sullivan was one of the toughest men to mark - "he was like an eel and light" - while there were lots of talented raw-boned wings in unfashionable sides who never got the chance to try for higher honours.
He said the All Blacks should win the test tonight because they had been playing well, they were at home and a strong unit.
But he warned the only guarantee was that both teams would take considerable lumps out of the other.