In the first of a series of Power Rankings specials we rank the All Blacks World Cup openers.
8. 1999 - All Blacks 45 Tonga 9, Ashton Gate, Bristol
This was the first full international between the two sides and about the only memorable thing about the game was that a Tongan starred – for New Zealand.
Jonah Lomu opened '99 much like he opened '95, with two tries and a huge amount of wow-factor given what he battled health-wise in the intervening years.
Apart from that, this was an unmemorable but perhaps fitting start to a badly organised tournament.
7. 2003 - All Blacks 70 Italy 7, Docklands Stadium, Melbourne
There's a big part of Rankings that tries to forget 2003, which is probably not fair because the team actually played some fairly compelling footy, especially when it didn't matter.
This was a weird game. For a start, the fertiliser on the pitch and the closed roof of Docklands meant the crowd were greeted by the smell of NPK.
Add to that, Italy were screamingly useless and under-strength, as we've become sadly accustomed to, and the All Blacks were impressive, but the win came at a cost that would accrue punishing interest rates.
Inspirational centre Tana Umaga injured his knee and wouldn't be seen again in a playing capacity.
Joe Rokocoko was the star, scoring twice to break Jonah Lomu and Christian Cullen's record for tries in a season (13). He also left the field after tweaking his hamstring.
Another notable moment came when a young second-five scored in his World Cup match. Yep, Dan Carter had a bit of promise.
6. 2011 - All Blacks 41 Tonga 10, Eden Park, Auckland
More than 60,000 folk crammed into a remodelled Eden Park to watch this opener but if we're going to be brutally honest, the Tongan fervour inside and outside the stadium was the only thing that elevated this game beyond ordinary.
The All Blacks were decidedly average and during the second half looked borderline clueless against the Pacific Islanders' committed defence.
If you can score three out of three by remembering who started at halfback, at No 8 and on the left-wing for the All Blacks without looking it up, you're doing way better than Rankings.
5. 2015 - All Blacks 26 Argentina 16, Wembley Stadium, London
Like this edition, the All Blacks faced their toughest pool opposition (by some distance) in their opening match. It was a notable game for many reasons, not least the fact it was being played in front of a world-record crowd of 89,019.
For much of the game, Los Pumas played out of their skins, helped in no small part by the All Blacks one-time bête noir Wayne Barnes dishing out a perfectly justified yellow cards to Richie McCaw and Conrad Smith, leaving the defending champions with just 13 men for a brief moment.
With Argentina ahead 16-12 nearing the three-quarter mark, the All Blacks finally shook off some rust with tries to Aaron Smith and Sam Cane, but it was far from a convincing marker.
4. 2007 - All Blacks 76 Italy 14, Stade Velodrome, Marseille
Oh for those sun-splashed days of September '07, before the dark clouds rolled into South Wales.
There we were in the south of France, drinking in ultraviolet and Kronenbourgs, watching the All Blacks destroy the hapless Italians en route to what was sure to be a drought-breaking title.
McCaw scored twice before 10 minutes was up, Sitiveni Sivivatu had two before the half-hour, Doug Howlett a hattrick by the hour. Even Jerry Collins, RIP, not a noted try-scorer, notched a pair.
Referee Barnes was unobtrusive and the majority of the crowd of 60,000 left that coliseum believing they'd seen the best team at the tournament.
3. 1995 - All Blacks 43 Ireland 19, Ellis Park, Johannesburg
A match that tends to get a bit lost when we think of dominant All Black World Cup performances.
Laurie Mains side might have fallen short of great here against a decent but by no means world-beating Irish side, but they did set a style template that would prove impossible encounter all the way through to the final.
That template was: throw the ball to Lomu and then trail him like a seagull follows a trawler.
Lomumania began here at Ellis Park and it was a sight to behold.
The only thing stopping this being ranked higher is the concession of three tries against a team that was not stacked with attacking weapons.
2. 1991 - All Blacks 18 England 12, Twickenham, London
It was tempting to slot this into the top spot, not least because it was the high-water mark of what was a garbled and ultimately fruitless defence of their title.
This was an ageing side handicapped by a strong Auckland versus the rest clique that was exacerbated by the NZRFU's boneheaded decision to parachute John Hart into a co-coaching role alongside Alex Wyllie.
You wouldn't have thought there was too many problems, however, as they dispatched the home side with a performance that bordered on clinical. The wondrous Michael Jones scored the game's only try and Grant Fox kicked his goals to ensure a more-comfortable-than-it-looked victory over the eventual runners-up.
1. 1987 - All Blacks 70 Italy 6, Eden Park
It could only be one.
Played in front of a crowd generously listed as 20,000 (and many of them were kids there for free), the All Blacks set a standard from the off that nobody would come close to matching at the inaugural jamboree.
If the score doesn't look as impressive as, say, 2007, remember this would have been 82-6 in new money.
But it's not the score that sets this apart from the rest of their openers. That honour goes to John Kirwan alone.
New Zealand were already leading 48-6 when Italy kicked off deep to David Kirk. He shovelled it infield to Grant Fox who hit Kirwan running at pace. It took eight attempted tackles before he was scragged – the only problem for Italy was that he was already over the line and in the act of placing the ball.
The World Cup had arrived; JK made sure we all started paying attention.