All Blacks first five-eighths Richie Mo'unga wondered if he would be part of the Rugby World Cup campaign when injuring his shoulder in the Bledisloe Cup game in Auckland last month but was relieved to be set to play South Africa in Yokohama on Saturday.
Having been under pressure to turn on a pressure performance in their second Bledisloe Cup game against Australia in Auckland last month, the All Blacks pack was facing the same demand in their Rugby World Cup opener against South Africa in Yokohama on Saturday.
It may be All Blacks coach Steve Hansen's fifth Rugby World Cup but he admitted attending World Cups was still the highlight of his career and he was excited heading into Saturday's pool opener against South Africa in Yokohama.
All Blacks flanker Matt Todd knows the Rugby World Cup will start off in much hotter conditions than sides have been used to but he expects by the time of the playoffs games the weather should be much better.
Dogged, determined defence, much of it in the hands of new All Blacks substituted in the final quarter, held out Argentina for a 20-16 win in their Investec Rugby Championship Test in Buenos Aires on Sunday (NZT).
A three-try haul for wing Sevu Reece in the Crusaders' win over the Bulls in Pretoria lifted him to second place on the Investec Super Rugby try scoring list for the season and gave him a boost up the Rookie Watch ladder.