On the other side, no-one typifies the New Zealand way of playing more than Richie McCaw, and the openside flanker returns to captain the world champions at the Olympic Stadium for the first time since his six-month sabbatical.
Steve Hansen, the New Zealand coach, is negotiating the difficult task of relentlessly winning at the expected rate while bringing in new faces with an eye to the 2015 World Cup defence.
The retention of those such as prop Tony Woodcock and hookers Andrew Hore and Keven Mealamu means the balance will still probably be with the 2011 World Cup winners as they look to retain the title they won with six wins out of six last year.
Hansen does expect a stiff challenge from the Australians in their first match under former prop Ewen McKenzie, though. "The Australians will front up," he said. "They have a new coach, and whenever that happens there seems to be an uplifting in confidence. We will need to be on the job for the full 80 minutes to put our stamp on the game."
McKenzie has backed form over pedigree as he looks to start his reign on a positive note by wresting the Bledisloe Cup back from the All Blacks for the first time in a decade. The former Queensland coach has jettisoned fly-half Quade Cooper and put his faith in the uncapped Matt Toomua to direct the Wallabies backline.
The 23-year-old is one of 10 ACT Brumbies in the matchday squad - four more of them uncapped - and he will be expected to get plenty of ball out to the danger players in the back three - Israel Folau, James O'Connor and Jesse Mogg.
First, though, the Wallabies must win the ball and McKenzie has selected a pack for a real dogfight at the breakdown with Hugh McMeniman winning his first cap for five years at blindside flanker and the equally abrasive lock Scott Fardy on the bench.
Still, preventing the All Blacks from claiming their 100th Test victory over Australia will be a tough task, especially for a team still hurting from their Third Test humbling by the British and Irish Lions.
There may be no Dan Carter at fly-half for New Zealand, but Aaron Cruden has been looking more and more like his heir apparent and the quality of backs Ma'a Nonu, Conrad Smith and Israel Dagg and Julian Savea is unquestionable.
"Those guys have been there and done that and the expectation is that they'll be comfortable," McKenzie said. "We've got to go and take them on and hopefully that will bring the best out in us."
Meanwhile, South Africa are favourites to get their campaign off to a winning start against Argentina at Soccer City tomorrow but they are wary of the improvement made by their opponents. It is only Argentina's second year in the four-nation southern hemisphere championship but already they have demonstrated their competitive capabilities.
South Africa had to scramble for a draw with Argentina last year in Mendoza and they expect the powerful visiting pack, plus their strength at the breakdown, to be a major challenge again. "The positive for us is that we know what to expect now," Heyneke Meyer, the South African coach, said this week. "Last year we didn't in the first game.
"The main difference in the Rugby Championship is that teams are better, defences are better organised and you don't get as many chances," Meyer added. "You can play better rugby but lose the game because the other team takes their chances."
With just two starting line-up changes from the last international in June, Meyer has stayed true to his promise to be more consistent in team selection and resisted the urge to start with recalled scrumhalf Fourie du Preez. The 31-year-old is, though, expected to come off the bench for his first cap since the 2011 World Cup, while Duane Vermeulen takes over at No.8 from the injured Pierre Spies and Juandre Kruger is restored at lock.
Felipe Contepomi will lead Argentina in place of injured captain Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, retaining the role he played in June when an under-strength side lost two home Tests to England.