The chance to become the first nation to win successive Rugby World Cups will drive the All Blacks next year.
Always keen to lay a new challenge before his players, coach Steve Hansen outlined how the pursuit of back-to-back titles will be the motivation following their 2011 drought-breaker on home soil.
Defending champions Australia came close to achieving it in 2003 but lost the final to an England team who tripped up four years later by South Africa at the final hurdle.
“Isn’t it a great challenge? It’s got to happen one day, so why not us?” Hansen said.
“That’s our challenge. Our challenge is massive because no one else has done it.”
Hansen says despite the history against them, it is inevitable his team will be favourites with the bookmakers.
They should expect that and be well aware that it means nothing, he said.
“To win the World Cup, you have to be really hungry and be prepared to sacrifice things.
“Maybe in the past, we haven’t been that hungry.”
A large chunk of the group who won the last title will be back, with Hansen having stayed true to veterans such as Richie McCaw, Dan Carter, Keven Mealamu and Conrad Smith, ignoring the demand from some quarters to ease them out over the last three years.
Hansen handed debuts to seven new players this year – down on previous seasons – and is unlikely to dip far beyond his current group in what will be a shortened 2015 campaign leading up to the tournament in September and October.
Hansen is content with the depth he has built, which will create competition in most positions.
“We go into next year knowing we’ve got 45-50 players who, if they’re all fit, are capable of giving us a really good nucleus of 31 players,” he said.
“This year we’ve learned some valuable lessons about individuals.
“We’ve been asked questions, we’ve answered them. But the reality is, we’ll have to improve our game again next year.”