Of all the things the All Blacks are hoping to achieve in their upcoming Bledisloe Cup series, none is more important than balance.
In the All Blacks last nine tests they have shown they can do just about everything the modern game requires.
They have a scrum that has grunt and the capacity to win rewards. They have a lineout that secures possession and creates a platform from which they can attack.
Their breakdown work can be accurate and ruthless, they have a clever kicking game, strong defence, ball players to make space and ball runners to take it.
We have seen that it is all there, that this All Blacks side has enormous potential.
But we have also seen that in the nine tests played since the last World Cup, that the All Blacks have not yet mastered the art of being able to glue everything together in the right way.
They have only produced sporadic bursts where their strategy and execution have both been on point. When they have balanced their game with a mix of everything they have looked entirely capable of becoming the number one side in the world.
There haven't been enough of those bursts, though, and nor have they shown that they can produce their core skills with the consistency of accuracy that has defined many of their predecessors.
The key, then, to their entire season is finding the right balance and accuracy and probably the most important place for them to get that right is in the ratio of kicking to running to passing.
That's been one of their weak spots to date: either kicking too much or kicking poorly – sometimes both.
In Sydney last year, when a heavy drizzle fell for 80 minutes, the All Blacks got their kicking bang on – both in terms of accuracy and volume.
It made them such a difficult team to defend as the Wallabies didn't know what was coming at them and even when they did, it was executed so well as to still put the Australians under enormous pressure.
In the last decade, the best All Blacks performances have come when they have kicked well. That's such an important and underappreciated part of their weaponry because it's not only a means to trouble the opposition defence, it's a way to create uncertainty and prevent them from being overly vulnerable to rush defences.
But the All Blacks haven't found that right balance often enough and if they want to return to the top of the world rankings again, so much will depend on their ability to better pick when to pass, when to run and when to kick.
Breaking teams down is not a linear, one dimensional process. When the All Blacks lost to Argentina last year it looked as if their running game was devoid of guile or invention.
Which partly it was, but the problem didn't solely lie with their lack of creativity, it was exacerbated by a lack of balance in how they used the ball.
They didn't kick well or often that day and the Pumas came off the defensive line fast and hard, knowing that they could line up the All Blacks midfield as if they were skittles.
That's why balance matters – manipulating a defence requires multiple aspects to be executed well to create both pressure and a sense of unpredictability.
The kick-run-pass mix is vital, but so too is it important that the All Blacks find the right balance between using their scrum to launch attacking moves and using it to win penalties.
They also have to find that even harder balance between holding their ground physically against being drawn into petty acts of retaliation.
That was a significant issue in the Bledisloe series last year – a failure to stay calm, composed and passive in the face of relentless Wallaby niggling.
And the third aspect in which balance will be critical is in working out when to push their attack – up the element of risk to capitalise on an opportunity against being patient and prepared to hold on to possession for another phase.
There has been an occasional hint of impatience about these All Blacks – as if they have been in too big a hurry to try to up the tempo and open games.
Playing at speed and with width is their preferred style and it comes with an underlying objective to test the aerobic conditioning of their opponents and their ability to execute their micro skills when fatigued.
But pushing too hard too soon ran them into trouble in Brisbane last year and to a lesser extent in Dunedin against Fiji this year.
Balance is going to be everything.