World ranking: Second
Qualification: Defending champions
Best result: Champions 1987, 2011, 15
TAB odds: $2.20
Chances: As two-time defending champions and top-ranked team in the world, the All Blacks deserve their favouritism and seem to have buried the World Cup bogey that plagued them for more than two decades.
Their opening game against the Springboks looms as an early indicator of form and mindset, but they must also find a way to stay motivated against weaker teams in their pool, leading into the quarter-finals.
Pool draw (NZT)
New Zealand v South Africa, Yokohama City, 9:45pm (live updates)
New Zealand v Canada, Oita Prefecture, 11:15am (live updates)
New Zealand v Namibia, Tokyo, 5:45pm (live updates)
New Zealand v Italy, Toyota City, 5:45pm (live updates)