It caused immense disappointment and almost resulted in the sacking of the coaches, but the All Blacks' World Cup quarter-final defeat to France in 2007 made Richie McCaw into the captain he is today.
The 20-18 loss on October 6 all those years ago, after the All Blacks had appeared in charge of the match at halftime, was a shock to New Zealanders at the game and those watching around the world, but also the team and in particular the skipper.
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It was a defining moment because since then McCaw has demanded more - from himself, but more particularly his teammates. He has said in interviews since that it made him into more of a ruthless individual, one who wouldn't accept second best when before he might have let things slide.
He was already a demanding individual - but more of himself than others. The stories of him running endless kilometres while on his summer holidays are a testament to that, and it was significant that his major wake-up call occurred on the same Cardiff pitch on which he made his debut as captain of the All Blacks in a narrow victory over Wales in 2004.
With coaches Graham Henry, Steve Hansen and Wayne Smith retaining their jobs, as well as McCaw's new attitude, a case can be made for saying that that 2007 defeat planted the seeds for the All Blacks' World Cup victory four years later. Now, after 145 tests, it remains to be seen whether he will see his team blossom one more time under his command.
"I guess if you are going to reflect over eight years ago, which is a long time, there's been a lot of rugby since then ... I know for myself certainly it was a disappointing day," McCaw said today after his team's captain's run at the Millennium Stadium. "That shaped the eight years since. Those days are the ones in which you learn a few lessons, and from the good times since you also learn a few lessons. This gives us another opportunity ... that's the bit that gets me going."
His opposite tomorrow morning is Thierry Dusautoir, a skipper cut from a similar mould and playing a similar role to the one he did four years ago when he inspired his team to a courageous performance in the final by the strength of his will and character.
Once again Dusautoir is having to rally a team against the odds under a coach who appears to be losing his grip on the team.
"We prepare for this game as a team with all the boys, coaches and manager," Dusautoir said today. "It is a team which is ready to play against New Zealand. I don't really understand what everybody is talking about here and it's not really my problem. I just focus on what I have to do tomorrow. It's not a big problem for us."
The All Blacks have plenty of respect for Dusautoir the man and the player. McCaw said today: "The way he plays drives the team through his performance. Over the years I've played him a few times and he's always there and I think we saw that last week in that Irish game. He was good defensively around the breakdown area so it's going to be a big challenge."
When pressed about the controversy over coach Philippe Saint Andre and an allegedly divided camp, Dusautoir said: "Yeah, totally. We are a team. We started as a team and we are going to continue our work as a team."
There's no question of that with McCaw and the All Blacks.