Is there any better man in New Zealand than Richie McCaw to lead New Zealand into tonight's World Cup final?
You'd be hard pushed to find one.
At the team's final press conference before the game that will be watched by most Kiwis, McCaw came across as someone who is calm, excited and ready for the biggest moment of his life.
On the eve of that catastrophic loss to France in Cardiff in 2007, McCaw announced he'd just signed a new contract with the New Zealand Rugby Union and there was a nervousness around the camp.
But four years on, there is nothing else on McCaw's mind. He is ready for battle and prepared to play his part in New Zealand history.
It is almost as if destiny is on the All Blacks' side tonight.
However, like through the rest of the week, McCaw isn't getting carried away by what lies ahead.
"It's an opportunity," he said. "There's absolutely nothing taken for granted – we've given ourselves a chance.
"There's two teams on the start line and it's making the most of that.
"Everyone, regardless of what happens, knowing that they couldn't have done any more. Putting everything that you've done into action – it's as simple as that, really.
"The boys are motivated, they're excited. But we're up against a team that will be exactly the same and it's about doing the job for 80 minutes."
McCaw revealed he has never touched the Webb Ellis Cup, believing that "you shouldn't touch it until you've earned it".
But it won't just be McCaw bringing leadership tonight.
He has a team full of lieutenants, many of whom were with him in the World Cup disappointments in 2003 and 2007.
They have suffered alongside him in those campaigns and the intervening years.
"We've got men who've been in situations," he said.
"They've been around a long time and there's a lot of desire there.
"We've got guys who are good enough but that guarantees nothing. People say who deserves what, but at the end of the day in a final it's not about who deserves what.
"It's about who goes and plays the best rugby on that stage, in this game. That's what we've got to do.
"What's happened before means absolutely nothing. We're against a team, the French, who'll all be thinking exactly the same."
While the mood yesterday was a positive one, McCaw did admit that one of the inspirations for playing well tonight was redemption from the previous World Cup losses.
"I suppose a little bit [of it is that] because a lot of guys have been through one, if not two, experiences that haven't been too flash and you'd like to think that just hardens the resolve and the desire.
"From my point of view, what happened back in 2003, I never understood what it took to win a World Cup.
"Perhaps I didn't fully understand again in 2007. But from those experiences you realise to win it you've got to be the best team in that tournament regardless of what's happened beforehand.
"You've got to produce the good when it counts."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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