Dan Carter is determined to hold onto the Bledisloe Cup in his final season of Test rugby ahead of Saturday's clash with Australia.
The All Blacks have held the trans-Tasman trophy since 2003, Carter's first season on the international stage, and will retain the Bledisloe with a win in either clash against the Wallabies over the next fortnight.
The teams will meet in Sydney on Saturday in the Rugby Championship decider before a return fixture in Auckland a week later.
And while the Rugby Championship title will also be on the line, Carter admits the Bledisloe Cup is his priority, especially with Australia having impressed in wins over South Africa and Argentina.
"It's huge. The Rugby World Cup aside, it's the biggest thing you want to hold on to. I've got some pretty special memories of winning it back in my first year," Carter told reporters.
"Just seeing the emotions of some senior players and how hard it was to win it back really showed me first hand how much this cup means to New Zealand and especially the All Blacks. I'm pretty lucky through my career to have had a lot of successes, but it's a cup that means a lot to this team and one we want to work hard to retain.
"I've been really impressed (by the Wallabies)," he added.
"They've put a lot of work into their physicality. Over the years they've always been extremely dangerous with ball in hand, and that added physicality they've brought has been notable, and probably gives them a bit more of an all-round game now."
Carter was rested for the win over South Africa, having started at fly-half against the Pumas, but he is expected to return this weekend as he looks to prove himself ahead of the World Cup with Lima Sopoaga, Beauden Barrett and Colin Slade all battling for places in the squad.
"I'm happy with the way my game's building," said the 33-year-old.
"I still feel like I can improve certain areas, but it's just a matter of making the most of every opportunity. There's a lot of competition in this team and you have to keep working alongside the coaches and doing whatever it takes."