Australia's David Pocock could barely contain his pride when informed by journalists on Thursday that one of his childhood rugby heroes had labelled him the world's best flank.
They may joke and put on a relaxed air in public, but the All Blacks could not hide their edge and resolve to make an emphatic statement when they open the World Cup against Tonga in Auckland on Friday.
New Zealand's High-profile Rugby League convert Sonny Bill Williams may have been told by the coaching staff to "tone down" his extravagant on-field display, but teammate Ma'a Nonu feels he will be a major asset.
South Africans should focus their attention on the Springboks and not on issues like transformation, sport minister Fikile Mbalula said in New Zealand.
New Zealand will look to throw down a marker to their rivals when they open up their World Cup challenge against Tonga on Friday (9.30am).
Delon Armitage admitted he was left "speechless" to find out he would be starting England's World Cup opener against Argentina on Saturday.
Romania will welcome back inspirational skipper Marius Tincu for Saturday's World Cup opener with Scotland.
Jerry Flannery still struggles to understand why Ireland imploded during the 2007 World Cup.
South Africa will rely on their experience and proven ability to make the right decision at the right time to defend their World Cup crown, according to assistant coach Dick Muir.
England have confirmed Delon Armitage will start against Argentina on the wing after Mark Cueto was ruled out.
Scotland head coach Andy Robinson has selected a near full-strength side for the World Cup opener against Romania in Invercargill on Saturday.
South Africa are effectively resigned to being without lock Bakkies Botha for Sunday's World Cup opener against Wales.
Wales prop Adam Jones has insisted heroic failures against World Cup rivals South Africa are no longer acceptable.
Full-back Chris Paterson insists Scotland have to deliver when they face Romania in Saturday's World Cup opener in Invercargill.
Cian Healy has been ruled out of Ireland's World Cup opener against the USA in New Plymouth on Sunday.