All blacks hold Referees to their word
The tackle area remains top of their concerns but the All Blacks are quietly confident that if the World Cup referees prove as good as their word, the tournament can be a rugby spectacle to behold.
New Zealand forward coach Steve Hansen knows most of the refereeing wrath is going to come in areas under his charge but he was taking a diplomatic line ahead of Friday night's opener against Tonga at Eden Park.
He was putting the onus back on referees boss Paddy O'Brien who has demanded increased emphasis on five key areas - breakdowns, scrums, mauls, offsides and foul play.
"The big challenge is making sure they get the big five right. They have stipulated what they really think is important to make the game flow," noted Hansen, adding that the refs needed to be "consistent within the game and then consistent within each other on how they referee and interpret that".
He forecasted some differences between referees "because that's just human nature".
Continuity and quick possession are key elements to the All Blacks' approach - and success - and Hansen made it clear that was an area he wants policed accordingly.
"The tackle area is one of the big five and if they get that right it will be an enjoyable tournament for everybody," he stressed.
"The emphasis has got to be on letting the ball carrier go - both by the tackler and assistant tacklers. If they do that then we can have a good game of rugby."
Although there are fewer scrums in the game these days, they still have the potential to be a blot on this tournament if there is a plague of resets.
There may have been a wobble or two in recent weeks but the All Blacks have had the best scrum in the business for the last couple of years.
Hansen was happy to put the responsibility of how to control scrum power back on the players rather than the whistle men. It was a subtle dig at some of the questionable tactics employed by opposition scrums trying to negate the All Blacks dominance.
"I'm not sure that's the referee's problem. That's a strong scrum problem. You have to make sure you do what's right and get in a bit closer I guess so they can't fall over and keep them up. You have to have that mentality and mindset that you keep them up - both teams have to have that mindset. I don't think that's a referee's problem."