Richie McCaw anticipates the toughest Test of New Zealand's tour so far when they tackle Millennium Stadium hosts Wales.
The revered All Blacks captain can readily recall a dramatic one-point victory over Wales in Cardiff four years ago as proof his team cannot relax.
With comfortable wins against Scotland and Ireland already banked, successes against the RBS 6 Nations winners - and then England next Saturday - would see New Zealand hit the jackpot of another impressive grand slam trip.
But McCaw warned: “Some of the games I have played against Wales have been pretty tough.
“The 2004 Test match was an example of that. If you let them get close, it can be hell of a long day.
“It went down to the wire in 2004 - it was a classic. I think the forward battle on Saturday is going to be a step up.
“Some of the games against Wales have been pretty physical.”
For McCaw and seven of his colleagues in tomorrow’s starting line-up, it will be a Millennium Stadium return for the first time as All Blacks since last year’s World Cup quarter-final calamity against France.
New Zealand though, subsequently won the Tri-Nations title, while Wales were crowned last season’s RBS 6 Nations champions less than six months after making a pool stage World Cup exit.
“Wales weren’t the only ones who had a bad few weeks,” added McCaw, reflecting on New Zealand’s World Cup demise.
“Obviously, they have got a new coach and you can see the excitement on their faces. It’s going to be a pretty good match.
“I have got a lot of respect for the Wales back-row, especially Martyn Williams. He has been around a long time.
“The fella at number eight (Andy Powell) is a big man, pretty good with ball in hand. As is the case with all good sides, if their front five functions, they have got the ability to run amok.
“Winning the Six Nations isn’t easy. Wales have always had the ability.
“They can counter-attack pretty well, if you give them space, and score tries. I think they have shown that.”
New Zealand’s preparations for the Wales game have not proved trouble-free.
Hooker Corey Flynn was ruled out yesterday due to a broken arm, so Hikawera Elliot will replace him on the bench, although All Blacks coach Graham Henry has confirmed his starting tighthead prop.
Neemia Tialata has recovered from a viral infection in time to feature, with Auckland’s John Afoa on the bench.