I lived in New Zealand. I even often used to see the All Blacks, they stayed where I stayed.
I can tell you that the Rugby World Cup is vital to New Zealand. Not the event being there, it is vital that the All Blacks win it! They are the best in the world, they have skill, style, natural talent, and it is the national sport.
It’s also the sport that a small nation, of only 4 million people, dominated the world in for a century. National pride is very bound up in Rugby. When the All Blacks lose a vital match, there is measurable depression across New Zealand! The problem now is that the All Blacks are not as far ahead as they used to be. They are still the best, but the top teams can beat them. And they do beat them in later World Cup stages so it is many years since New Zealand won the Rugby World Cup.
This is their chance, they have the team and coaching that is good enough. They are playing at home. They are the best. But the pressure on them to succeed is immense. There is no other big sport like Rugby in New Zealand.
I really would like them to win, it’s good for the sport like Spain winning the World Cup Football. – Style and flair succeeding.
But, if they lose…there are plenty of New Zealanders who won’t be able to discuss Rugby for a long time, months…!!