Isaac Boss believes that Ireland would not have been New Zealand's first choice team to face in a World Cup quarter-final.
The sides clash in Tokyo on Saturday morning – their first-ever knock-out meeting – with Ireland having won two of the last three encounters.
Prior to 2016 Ireland had never beaten the All Blacks but all that changed in Chicago and was followed up two years later with an impressive victory at home.
The Ireland team that beat New Zealand in the World Rugby Under-20 Championship in 2016 contained James Ryan, Jacob Stockdale and Andrew Porter, with the first two likely to start on Saturday.
In addition, Johnny Sexton, Conor Murray and Tadhg Furlong all beat New Zealand on the Lions tour two years ago.
"When it comes to the Irish team they have always sort of respected them and enjoyed playing against them," former Ireland international Boss told the RTÉ Rugby podcast.
"But once you beat them they respect you a whole lot more.
"A lot of the Irish team have probably beaten the All Blacks more than they have lost to them, it not like it was in the past.
"That’s the new crop coming. It has changed.
"That’s the deal, New Zealand know Ireland can beat them.
"The All Blacks do respect them and they’ll be fearful as well. This is not a quarter-final that they wanted to have."
Now living back home in New Zealand, Boss, who played for Ulster and Leinster and won 22 Ireland caps, says he understands how the All Blacks can be perceived as somewhat arrogant.
"It’s quite ironic," adds the 39-year-old.
"They are very gracious in the defeats they’ve had and that comes down to respect.
"I realise and I see why they are probably seen as an arrogant rugby nation here in New Zealand and I’d probably be first to agree with that to an extent.
"But I’d also say it’s from years and years of good performances and they’ve probably earned the right.
"It comes across as a little bit of arrogance but it’s probably a bit more [about] confidence."
Follow Ireland v New Zealand on Saturday 19 October (kick-off 11.15am) via the live blog on RTÉ.ie/Sport and the News Now App, watch live on RTÉ2 or listen to live match commentary on RTÉ Radio 1.
***Follow all four Rugby World Cup quarter-finals this weekend via our live blogs on RTE.ie/Sport and the News Now app, or watch live on RTÉ2.