There is some serious mileage clocked behind the scenes, with the modern All Black now required to push his body to the most extraordinary limits.
The aerobic demands of rugby continue to climb towards a summit that only the most exceptionally conditioned can reach. There was compelling evidence of that this year in the contrasting fortunes of Adam Thomson and Andrew Hore.
The former reached February in excellent shape and his rugby benefited from the hours of training he had put in during the summer. The latter had missed much of the 2010 season, had a truncated off-season due to his All Black commitments and couldn't get his engine to rev during Super 15 as a consequence.
Thomson is sure that the key to his form and subsequent selection was his extended rest and conditioning period from October 2010 to February this year.
The Highlanders loose forward had been selected to play for the New Zealand Sevens team at the Commonwealth Games last year and was hoping to use that as a launchpad to force his way back into the All Black reckoning. But he damaged a knee turning out for Otago and spent two months unable to play.
It felt like a disaster at the time but Thomson has come to see it differently now.
"It has been massive [having an off-season]," he says. "I had been involved with the All Blacks on end-of-season tours for the two previous years and last year was the first time I had had a pre-season for a long while.
"Mentally and physically, that was the freshest I have been coming into a Super rugby campaign and I played some of the best rugby I have played. It was huge having that break to get the body and the mind right.
"I have been to Gordon Tietjens' training camps and I have had Jamie Joseph now, so it is hard work. But if you can get through that, you can get through anything. They are tougher than the game."
In stark contrast, Hore never looked fully matchfit. He missed the Tri Nations last year after dislocating his shoulder playing for the Hurricanes and only just managed to make the end-of-season tour where he made cameo appearances off the bench.
Like many front-row forwards, Hore can't afford to let the conditioning slip as the bigger units find it hard to regain. He clearly struggled to retrieve his aerobic base after so much time out and without playing 80 minutes each week for the Hurricanes this year he seemed to be stuck in a holding pattern.
He's hopeful that some hard work in the last few weeks is going to set him up to recover his form and mentally he has been rejuvenated by the confirmation he will be joining the Highlanders and living at 'home' again.
"Most of the time, I am pretty good [at training on my own] but it is always easier when someone else is cracking the whip," he says. "For some reason, it is a lot easier to sit on the couch watching TV when you are at home than it is to be out there stretching and running.
"Running is one of the few things I can do at home because there is no gym there and I have been doing a lot of that recently so hopefully it is going to pay off and I can start playing some good footy again.
"I am out of my comfort zone again and that is pretty pleasing," he says of his move to the Highlanders.
He certainly will be out of his comfort zone when the Highlanders begin their pre-season work. Joseph is old school and proud of it. He will run his players until he thinks they are just about broken and, while it is painful, and many hate it, it is a road down which the modern All Black must travel.