"I just love it," said Fitzpatrick, who was partnering South Africa's Keith Horne in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews last week. Whoever put the pairings together clearly had a mischievous streak, for the next date on the All Blacks' schedule is their titanic clash with the Springboks in the Rugby Championship decider at Johannesburg's Ellis Park on Saturday. Oh to be a fly on the wall as the pair of them discussed their pro-am team strategy.
A bonus-point victory over Argentina last weekend has put the All Blacks in pole position to take the title against their historic rivals, who brushed Australia aside 28-8 in Cape Town. The Springboks need victory and a bonus point of their own to finish on top of the southern hemisphere pile, but at least they have the comfort of knowing that they have a significant points differential advantage, most of it created on the tournament's opening day when they thrashed the Pumas 73-13.
A peppering of spicy intrigue has also been added to the Ellis Park clash by the fractious events that unfolded when New Zealand beat South Africa in Auckland just over two weeks ago. What should have been a magnificent contest was ruined by French referee Romain Poite when he virtually gifted the 29-15 win to the All Blacks by sending off Springboks hooker Bismarck du Plessis in hugely controversial circumstances. Indignation has festered inside those green and gold shirts ever since.
Fitzpatrick said: "People will say that New Zealand are favourites, and I suppose they are, but they weren't at all dominant in the last game. South Africa will be playing at Ellis Park, playing at home, and they'll be fired up.
"There was a bit of a hollow feeling after the All Blacks won that first game. I don't think anyone was really happy with what happened. But then, the All Blacks played some pretty good rugby and they managed to win without some of their top players. I think they should be feeling pretty confident, but most of them will understand that Ellis Park is never an easy place to go."
He should know. Fitzpatrick played six times for New Zealand at the famous old Johannesburg ground, winning four of those matches. But the most memorable, and infamous, contest of all was one he lost, the World Cup final of 1995. To this day, many New Zealanders swear that the side Fitzpatrick captained that year was the greatest their country ever produced, and it was only skulduggery on the part of South Africa - there were accusations that the All Blacks' food had been contaminated the night before the game - that denied them the triumph that was rightfully theirs.
It was also a wake-up call, though, a reminder that you have to fight to the finish. In which light, Fitzpatrick believes that one thing his countrymen will not have to worry about come Saturday is the complacency that has afflicted their performances on occasions in the past. "Their skill levels are high, they work hard on everything and they just want to get better with every game," he explained. "The competition for places is as tough as it's ever been, and that's a huge motivating factor. When you've got the shirt you don't want to lose it."
When the All Blacks took the World Cup monkey off their backs by winning the thing in 2011 - 24 years after Fitzpatrick had been part of the New Zealand side that won the inaugural tournament - it was predicted by many commentators that their performances would dip. Theirs, though, is the kind of decline that most countries would aspire to. Of the 22 Tests they have played since the 2011 final, they have lost just one.
"I didn't expect them to ease off, so I'm not surprised it hasn't happened," Fitzpatrick shrugged. "There's still a lot to play for, and the competition is so good that players can't afford to rest on their laurels. The history of the All Blacks is not one of losing games. There hasn't been a slackening off and long may that continue. They're just very committed and want to play well in every game. You can see that in all the players who are coming through - the half-backs, the 10s, they all want to get better. The beautiful thing about the All Blacks jersey is that the legacy is very important. I'm a real fan. I love watching the All Blacks play. Especially when they are playing a great brand of rugby."
Fitzpatrick, who retired from Test rugby in 1997, is reassured by reports that Richie McCaw, the talismanic flanker, is likely to fit for Saturday's game, having made a characteristically superhuman recovery from the knee injury he picked up a few weeks ago. Until McCaw came along, Fitzpatrick was routinely hailed as the greatest All Black there had ever been, but there is no sense that he resents losing that crown.
"Richie is a phenomenal player," he purred. "They put him in the squad even though they knew he might not make it, which is pretty unusual, but it shows just how important he is to the side."