Key players Richie McCaw and Dan Carter are expected to be fit to play France on Saturday, but the All Blacks tempered the good news by saying it's Ireland who hold the World Cup blueprint.
Minor injuries to McCaw and Carter forced them out of their last match against Japan but they are now in the frame for the crunch encounter with France to determine who will top Pool A.
However, All Blacks assistant coach Wayne Smith qualified the positive medical report by saying the team needed "to get some edge" after watching the way the Irish pack demolished Australia in a 15-6 upset on Saturday.
"The physicality of their game was way up compared to what we've experienced so we've got to get that really quickly," he said here Monday during an emotional visit to meet relatives of Christchurch earthquake victims.
"They've issued a blueprint for rugby in showing that nothing changes. If you win up front and you win the gain line and you win the collisions, then you're probably going to win the game.
"I don't think it's a blueprint to beat southern hemisphere teams, it's a blueprint to beat anyone."
Smith particularly praised the Irish forwards, an area where the All Blacks have so far been below-par, saying the way the green eight dominated the Wallabies and the highly rated Australian backs were given few chances to operate.
"They were exceptional. I don't know if too many teams would have beaten them on the day with that intensity," he said.
All Blacks prop Ben Franks said they needed to produce the same forward passion, starting with the clash against France who also have a highly rated scrum.
"Ireland had that plan and it worked, they stopped Australia and they've got really good backs," he said.
"When you play a team, if you can take away their set-piece you'll take away their strike, you'll take away their ability to score points.
"Ireland will be on a real high and they'll be using their scrum as a weapon from now on."
Smith said McCaw had trained well in Christchurch after suffering a calf strain, as had the two injured fullbacks Mils Muliaina (hamstring) and Israel Dagg (abdominal strain).
Carter was still not 100 percent after sustaining a sore back in the All Blacks' opening game against Tonga, but was making positive progress and "the signs are good".
No.8 Kieran Read, whose presence has been missed by the All Blacks since he suffered a high ankle strain against Australia last month, has begun running again and is on track to play against Canada in their final pool match.
The New Zealand team to play France will be named on Thursday and if McCaw takes the field he will play his delayed 100th Test, becoming the first All Black to reach a century.
Barring further upsets in pool play, the winner of Saturday's game is likely to play Argentina in the quarterfinals and go on to a tough semi against either Australia or South Africa.
The second-placed team in Pool A is headed for a quarterfinal against England, with the winner then likely to face either Ireland or Wales in the semis.
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