The All Blacks are one win away from reaching a World Cup final on home territory, and, as a result, the hype surrounding Sunday's Eden Park clash is enormous.
"It's not another game, I think you acknowledge that from the start," All Blacks skipper McCaw admitted.
"It's not just another game, but you've got to do a lot of the things exactly the same to ensure you perform.
"The way you train, the things you've got to do during the week, obviously you've got to make sure they are pretty similar. I think when you get into tomorrow, what is different is the excitement and obviously what is at the end.
"The big thing is not to let that get on top of you and inhibit you from going out there and playing well.
"I think what has been the big thing this week is to make sure we go about our process of getting ready to play, the way you train, but being excited about it because it is a World Cup semi-final."
New Zealand have handed Aaron Cruden the pivotal fly-half role, stepping up after injuries sidelined Dan Carter and Colin Slade for the tournament remainder.
But their strength is underlined through renowned line-breaker Sonny Bill Williams being on the bench, with the All Blacks rated clear favourites to reach their first World Cup final since 1995.
"To win these games you've got to have 15 guys, plus the seven coming on off the bench, all to play their best rugby. We've got to do it together," McCaw added.
"You don't take anything for granted. I think this team, with a lot of guys having been through that experience (losing a 2007 quarter-final to France), they are the sort of lessons you learn.
"These games are about taking opportunities when they present themselves.
"As the games get bigger and there is a bit more at stake, those opportunities perhaps become a bit less and it's about the teams that can nail them.
"I think what you have seen over the years at World Cups is that it comes down to stopping the other team scoring, putting pressure on and stuff like that.
"It's really no different, it's just about having an impact for longer and the teams that do that are the teams that prevail."
Flanker McCaw's battle with Australian openside David Pocock, most notably at the critical breakdown area, will undoubtedly have a key bearing on the semi-final's outcome.
And McCaw said: "He's had quite an impact, he certainly did last weekend (against South Africa).
"We've got to make sure we don't give a guy like him the opportunity. He's one man, and if you put your focus on just one man then you miss others, so you've got to make sure it's not over the top."
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