Credit to the 2019 Rugby World Cup organisers, they did not stage completely hopeless matchups for the tournament in Japan.
The All Blacks will face the Springboks for their opener.
The squad is now making preparations and the ever-vigilant Steve Hansen is conditioning his players to adjust to the heat and humidity Japan offers this time of year.
According to AB halfback Brad Weber, even before departing for the Land of the Rising Sun, the team was using spas and saunas to avoid being caught depleted in the sweltering conditions.
Which reminds us, we are a bit negligent in following our hydration protocol. Excuse us while we go and have a wee nip.
Water, that is. We will save the Sake for, well, never. We like our rice many ways, but made into wine is the exception.
This level of preparation is typical for a squad intent on capturing the never-before-done three-peat, but the environment the All Blacks will encounter is not markedly different from that often found during the Super rugby training period in December and January.
“We had a few strategies when we were back home to try and be in hot conditions. We were well prepared for the heat here,” Weber said.
The Springboks are doubtless doing something similar for their opener with the All Blacks.
Depending on the exact conditions at game time, there could be a reduced tempo, although it is equally possible that New Zealand will play its usual frenetic pace and wilt South Africa early on.
One might think that a civilised country such as Japan would have nothing but enclosed stadiums, but that, apparently, is not the case, so for the All Blacks, the electrolyte supplying drinks and good, old H2O will be consumed with a gusto typically reserved for more interesting beverages.