All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster views Saturday's clash with the Wallabies in Sydney as a perfect indicator of his team's readiness to defend the World Cup.
Australia have shown in their victories over South Africa and Argentina that they will not be pushovers this weekend, and Foster feels the timing of the Test is just right.
"It has come at a great time, the way it's worked out," he told the New Zealand Herald.
"Not only is it a Bledisloe Cup game, it's also the decider for the Rugby Championship – it has added a bit of spice to the game hasn't it, if we needed it.
"Certainly after the last three Tests of introducing a number of new people I think it's nice to put a stake in the ground in this one and see exactly where we are at.
"We know how hard it is to win over there. The Aussies cherish Sydney, they've shown a bit of improvement, they're chasing consistency and this will put a big marker in the ground for them.
"This is what Test rugby is all about. They want it, we want it, and on Saturday night we'll go hammer and tongs to see who is best prepared."
When asked if he felt the All Blacks were on track with their preparations ahead of the World Cup, Saturday's clash and the return fixture in Auckland are their last matches ahead of the global showpiece, Foster said: "We wouldn't mind being a little bit more cohesive than we were (In Johannesburg against the Springboks).
"We took too long to get desperate in that game.
"In the first half they took it too us and we weren't clinical enough in what we were doing. We had opportunities we didn't take.
"Are we where we want to be? Probably not, we'd like to be a bit further ahead, but we've got two Tests and two weeks of training to get that right."