Steve Hansen has used his All Blacks squad announcement as a chance to turn the blowtorch on those teams who have serious designs on ending their reign as Rugby World Cup champions.
The veteran coach was in a self-assured mood at Auckland's Eden Park on Wednesday as he unveiled his 31-man group for Japan, where the axing of centurion prop Owen Franks and the promotion of unheralded flanker Luke Jacobson were the major talking points.
It is the last squad named by Hansen, who will step aside after the global tournament, where New Zealand are chasing a third straight triumph.
His team has been criticised for inconsistent form over the last two years but the 60-year-old expects the best of the All Blacks to bubble forth when the stakes rise in the knockout phase.
It's a pressure Hansen said the All Blacks are accustomed to but questioned if his rivals are.
"This Rugby World Cup looks like being the most fiercely contested yet with a large number of teams all believing they can win," he said.
"This will bring possibly more pressure and expectation on them than ever before and it will be interesting to see who can and who can't cope with it."
Captain Kieran Read, inside centre Sonny Bill Williams and lock Sam Whitelock are in line to lift the Webb Ellis Cup for a record third time.
Franks would have been in that category but Hansen showed his intentions to play rapidly in Japan with his dropping of the 108-Test prop.
The likes of Atu Moli and Angus Ta'avao inject youth and athleticism into the front row mix.
"We believe the game requires us to have big, mobile No 1s and No 3s," Hansen said of the selection panel's rationale for dropping the tighthead.
"And in this case we feel the guys we've named are more so than he (Franks), therefore we had to make a tough decision.
"Obviously he's very disappointed, but I won't go into details about what was said. I'm very respectful of how he coped with it, it's a mark of the man."
Mobility is also the mantra in back row, where three openside flankers are joined by Jacobson, whose sole Test appearance came off the bench against Argentina last month.
The 22-year-old's selection shuts out bigger blindside flank options such as Vaea Fifita, Jackson Hemopo, Shannon Frizell and Liam Squire.
Hansen conceded it was a gamble to include world class lock Brodie Retallick, who is unlikely to have recovered from a dislocated shoulder for any of the pool games, most notably the blockbusting opener against South Africa on September 21.
"We've rolled the dice to take him for that quarter-final and we'll take it from there," Hansen said.
Among the unluckiest omissions is Hurricanes star Ngani Laumape, who couldn't break into a classy midfield back group which includes Ryan Crotty, who hasn't played for nearly two months.
ALL BLACKS SQUAD
Backs: Jordie Barrett, Ben Smith, Sevu Reece, George Bridge, Rieko Ioane, Jack Goodhue, Anton Lienert-Brown, Ryan Crotty, Sonny Bill Williams, Beauden Barrett, Richie Mo'unga, Aaron Smith, TJ Perenara, Brad Weber.
Forwards: Kieran Read (capt), Ardie Savea, Sam Cane, Matt Todd, Luke Jacobson, Scott Barrett, Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick, Patrick Tuipulotu, Nepo Laulala, Angus Ta'avao, Ofa Tu'ungafasi, Joe Moody, Atu Moli, Dane Coles, Codie Taylor, Liam Coltman.