The All Blacks and their fans go into the World Cup with huge expectations once again.
Ever since winning the inaugural title, the All Blacks have started subsequent tournaments as the favourites and failed to deliver.
Coach Graham Henry was give the responsibility again after they were bundled out by France in the quarter-finals four years ago and it seems that he should now know all there is to know about getting a team to the final and winning.
In fact the squad he has picked has all the experience, skill and passion to win, with perhaps major injuries the only likely thing to derail their chances.
Richie McCaw leads a side that has stars and arguable many of the best players in the world in their positions.
McCaw, Kaino and Read form the best loose forward trio around, Carter, Nonu and Smith are the best midfield back combination, while the three-quarters have the ability to punish a side from any position on the field.
The homeside will have no problems in pool play, despite coming up against France, who knocked them out of contention in two World Cups - in fact a loss would still have them qualify for the knockout stage.
New Zealand's only success was at the inaugural tournament in 1987 and playing at home again should help, although there is added pressure.
The All Blacks are likely to meet Argentina or Scotland in the quarter-finals, South Africa in the semi-finals and Australia or England in the final.[image:2889:full]