KIWIS are confident that, 24 years on from their last World Cup triumph, the All Blacks will win on home turf, according to an nzherald.co.nz poll.
Of 600 people questioned, 59 per cent picked the home side to win the final at Eden Park next year.
The next closest team picked to take top honours was South Africa, a long way behind on 17 per cent. No other team inspires much fear in the New Zealand public it would appear - just 5.3 per cent thought Australia would win, 3.9 per cent England and 3 per cent France.
Prof Vaughan said he recalls similar enthusiasm about an All Black victory in the lead up to the 1995, 1999, and 2003 World Cups, none of which materialised.
He said research carried out in the US shows that home advantage does increase the chances of winning, especially in basketball.
"The support of the home crowd is a major factor and could be the difference in a key match," Prof Vaughan said.
He said survey respondents could have understood the home ground phenomenon.
But the other factor could be patriotism.
"No matter how many times we get hammered, when we get close to World Cup time, we seem to pick it up again," Prof Vaughan said.
"In terms of history, New Zealand's optimism seems to recover," he said.
Prof Vaughan said if people make a psychological commitment to the All Blacks - for example, laying a bet - then their expectation for a win increases.
"But the true fan is going to be committed. I'm sure if you ask some of the old All Blacks who will win, they'll say: Mate, it's our sport," he said.
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