TOKYO – New Zealand are relishing the pressure as they vie for an unprecedented third consecutive World Cup title and have put behind them a recent lacklustre spell to kick off their Japan campaign with a clean slate, captain Kieran Read said.
The All Blacks lost their world number one ranking for the first time in nearly a decade last month - they briefly regained it only to fall to second after Ireland - prompting speculation their recent domination of the tournament could be at its end.
But for the most-capped All Black of the 2019 World Cup squad, none of that matters.
“The results are not important at all. I think that's shown across all the test matches that have been played,” Read told reporters after the team arrived in Tokyo for a welcome ceremony. “Teams have beaten each other across the board.
“So in the World Cup it (form in the warm-ups) doesn't matter, it's about turning up in this World Cup and putting your best foot forward. And so every team right now has got the same chance as everyone else.”