Brian O'Driscoll insists Ireland have landed in New Zealand unaffected by last month's troubled build-up to the World Cup.
The squad arrived in the spectacular surroundings of Queenstown on Thursday following an epic 43-hour journey that began in Dublin and featured stops in Dubai and Sydney.
The snow-peaked mountains that form the scenic backdrop to the team hotel offer a stark contrast to the grim base camp in Bordeaux where the seeds for Ireland's 2007 World Cup implosion were sewn.
A noisy gathering of over 500 supporters greeted their arrival at Queenstown airport and the squad has clearly benefited from the change of scenery after slumping to four successive defeats in their warm-up Tests.
O'Driscoll insists the events of last month have failed to dent Ireland's self-belief.
"I don't think we necessarily needed to put a spring in our step. We feel confident and we're looking forward to the games," said O'Driscoll.
"We're not bringing any scars from the last month with us, it's all about the start of the World Cup."
Ireland's campaign opens against the United States in New Plymouth on September 11 and continues with clashes against Australia, Russia and Italy.
All eyes will be on their showdown with the Wallabies, but after the horror show four years ago when they went desperately close to losing to Georgia they know the danger of underestimating less glamorous opposition.
"Australia are ranked second in the world and are going to be huge and a very tough team to beat," said O'Driscoll.
"But we learnt in 2007 that there are no pushover Test matches. We had it hard against a couple of lesser-known international nations.
"We certainly won't be taking anything for granted. We'll focus on our first game and take it from there."
Ireland coach Declan Kidney concurred that the USA and Russia will be treated as dangerous opponents.
"History has shown us there's no such thing as an easy Test match, especially when it comes to the World Cup," said Kidney.
"Australia will be on a high. They're Tri Nations champions and have had a good couple of weeks in the lead-up to the World Cup.
"But we play America first and expect them to be full on."
Queenstown is known as the adventure sports capital of New Zealand and while the likes of white rafting and snow boarding are off limits, the team will be let off the leash.
"There won't be any lockdown. It would be awful to come to Queenstown and not see it properly," said Kidney.
"It's a smashing spot. The way our matches are, this World Cup is more like a tour. Queenstown is as good a place as any to start.
"When we landed and were hit with that reception, we knew we were in the biggest rugby tournament in the world. It was a special occasion.
"The backdrop we were playing against today is not something you see too often - it was pretty spectacular."
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