All Blacks respect Ireland but don't fear them

The All Blacks continue to talk up Ireland as the best side in the world but they insist they don't fear them.

The All Blacks are also adamant they're a much better team now than the one that lost to hosts France in their opening game of the World Cup, as they prepare to try and stop the Irish from reaching the final four of the tournament for the first time.

Ireland have won four of their last six games against the All Blacks, including their two most recent clashes.

If the All Blacks were to be beaten in Sunday morning's quarter-final in Paris, they would suffer the ignominy of heading home as statistically the worst ever All Blacks team at a World Cup.

However, forwards coach Jason Ryan is adamant the fear of losing isn't their main motivation.

"The All Black jersey means a lot to us and we've talked a lot in the last few months around the legacy of the black jersey and what it means.

"Are we scared of failure? No. But do we embrace the legacy and what we want to achieve? Yes and we walk towards it."

Centre Rieko Ioane agrees.

"Our belief that's unwavering because we know what we have in this group and for myself the fear of losing doesn't ever cross my mind."

While the pain of last year's historic series loss to the Irish still lingers, Ryan believes the All Blacks are a far better side now than they were then.

"Had some good growth in our lineout on both sides of the ball. That's been a plus for us. Our carry is better and I think the training quality and fixing things on the run has been quite a step up for the boys and not avoiding any hard conversations that need to be had."

Halfback Aaron Smith said while Ireland deserve to be the world's no. 1 side, rankings won't mean much come Sunday morning in Paris.

"They've earned that right. Their record in the last two years has really proved that.

"But we're at a World Cup, we're playing in a quarter-final and it's all on the line."

Smith said the team was relishing being back in the French capital, where their legacy could be enhanced or tarnished.

"All our dreams and aspirations and hopes for this World Cup were to come to Paris (knockout stages) and we're finally here for real.

"It's in our control how long we are here. It's great to be here, you can feel the energy. We've already played at that amazing stadium (Stade de France) once this year and we've got another opportunity this weekend."

Both Ireland and New Zealand name their teams Friday morning (NZT) and forwards coach Ryan insists the three time champion All Blacks are nothing but excited by the chance to prove they're still one of the best teams in rugby.

"This is where the players want to be, in a final, it's where you want to be as a coach. It's a great opportunity we're looking forward to against the No. 1 team in the world."

If the All Blacks win in Paris they'll send a message that they are still one of the best teams in the world, but if they lose they'll be consigned to history as one of New Zealand's worst ever World Cup sides.