It was the clearest indication yet that New Zealand are reading little into Ireland's 2019 dip in form and are preparing for a tight match against a team who have caused them more problems than most recently. But we are where we are and you can be sure that New Zealand will be picking out Sexton for particular attention, testing legaility at times.
"At some point, they were going to come across the Irish. They probably weren't intentional at the time, but if they happened now there would be bigger consequences". Schmidt believes his combinations will be a decisive factor in Tokyo.
"Some of the yellow cards that were given out and some things that were missed, they would be reds now. That's the quality that the All Blacks have - that's the athletes that they possess", he explained.
England may have a six-match winning run against the Wallabies, but they came through arguably a less testing pool stage and have not played since the match with France was cancelled because of Typhoon Hagibis. It was like two strangers, we were nearly introducing ourselves to each other for the first few games.
"We have changed a lot of things in the last 12 months because we had to due to some performances previous year that we're not proud of", said assistant coach Ian Foster of that evolution process. So the accumulation of those experiences together hopefully builds a bit of confidence. "If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together".
New Zealand are on the hunt for their third straight World Cup title and fourth overall.
"You aren't going to go out there and accept things not going your way".
As lock Sam Whitelock pointed out. "New Zealand have an abundance and Ireland few, if any", he said.
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"When they kick it, they kick it to put pressure on you rather than give you a free shot, so you just have to adapt with what is happening".
Steve Hansen has opted to go with the 24-year-olds for Saturday's clash in Tokyo over more experienced campaigners Sonny Bill Williams and Ryan Crotty.
Like his opposite number, Schmidt is facing into what could be his final match as Ireland coach.
But he had not factored it into his preparations, saying: "I've been trying to forget about it for the last four years".
"I don't think it will happen again", Sexton added.
"Then you've got players who have strengths in particular areas and are not so strong in others, so you adapt". We just felt for this game that Albie (Lienert-Brown) is playing really well at the moment, full of energy.
"I caught up with (Ireland's defense coach) Andy Farrell and had a yarn with him and in that conversation, that was brought up".
"Ireland are in a situation where they haven't gone past a quarter-final, so they will be doing their darnedest not to go home". So we've got some good choices.