New Zealand skipper Richie McCaw insists there is no less pressure for his side at the upcoming Rugby World Cup, despite ending a 24-year wait for glory in 2011.
McCaw was a key figure four years ago as New Zealand shrugged off the weight of expectation as they hosted the tournament and claimed their second World Cup crown, playing bravely on with a broken foot to eventually lift the Webb Ellis Trophy.
The 34-year-old was also the scourge of the British and Irish Lions back in 2005, as the Sea of Red toiled in New Zealand and failed to win a single Test match for the first time in 22 years.
The Lions will return to New Zealand to take on the All Blacks in 2017, and McCaw is adamant the determination is still there to welcome the tourists as reigning world champions.
“The build up to 2011 with the three previous tournaments having been so hugely disappointing, the pressure, intensity and fear of failure for probably the whole country as much as the players was there,” he said.
“But regardless of what happened last time we've still got to have the same attitude and desires to do well.
“The expectation of the All Blacks to do well is always going to be there so we're not approaching it any differently from that perspective.
“That type of expectation is what has driven the All Blacks to keep training hard and to give of their best. It can be rough at times but that is just part of being an All Black.
“I’d hate for that to change. That’s what you want. You want to go out and win every game. You want to do everything right so that you can give yourself a chance.
“You think sometimes it’s tough but that’s just the way it is. If you don’t want to do it someone else who wants to do it will fill your spot. I see the pressure as a positive.”
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