As the All Blacks prepare to begin a new era under Ian Foster, with a match against the Wallabies in Wellington kicking off the Bledisloe Cup, one man could be their secret weapon, writes Gregor Paul.
John Plumtree is coming into this Bledisloe Cup series as something of an international man of mystery, but he may well come out of it recognised as the jewel in the All Blacks coaching crown.
Based on just one game – the loss to England at the World Cup – there are some attempting to push a revisionist history of the last decade and portray it as one where All Blacks packs were meek and mild, regularly outgunned by those such as South Africa, England and Ireland who take a more direct approach.
It's a massive oversell, a genuine distortion of the truth. There were times in the last decade when the All Blacks were second best in the physical stakes, but there was nothing endemically soft or flawed about their work.
Anyone hit by a Kieran Read or Sam Cane tackle or who played against Dane Coles and Brodie Retallick for 80 minutes would find it an extraordinary claim that the All Blacks lacked physicality.
They didn't and losing to England wasn't the nadir, the point in time which marked the All Blacks hitting a physical low that they had been progressing slowly towards since they drew with the British and Irish Lions in 2017, it was a marker that said they need to place greater emphasis on their collision work, technically refine it and have this idea of them being warriors first, ball-players second more clearly understood.
And this is why Plumtree may prove to be an invaluable addition to the All Blacks coaching staff as he's been brilliant at instilling a physical edge – an urgency, tenacity and resilience in every forward pack he's coached.
He gets, better than most, that however much rugby evolves it stays true to the underlying barbaric principle that the victors almost always have more blood on their swords than the vanquished.
Plumtree doesn't see the backs as being ornamental or decorative, but he does understand that it is considerably easier to move them around the field when there is forward momentum generated by winning the endless collisions.
And already the All Blacks forwards are talking about the intensity he has brought to training, the focus he has placed on the technical work required at the breakdown and the emphasis he has placed on collisions.
It's not revolutionary or wildly different to what his predecessor Mike Cron was doing, but Plumtree is a fresh voice with a different perspective that has been mostly gained overseas.
He survived in the thunderous Currie Cup as a loose forward for nine seasons and so, he gets from first-hand experience, that winning collisions is the way to win games.
No one can play in South Africa and think that rugby is won by the quick-witted and fleet-footed. Rugby in the Republic can often descend into a battle of wills, a matter of which team can maintain its defensive wall for longer as wave after wave of forward runners come round the corner of rucks and refuse to deviate from their path regardless of what is in the way.
Having spent so long in South Africa – he coached the Sharks through five Super Rugby campaigns - the whole business of rugby as combat is in his DNA and he's taken that basic idea wherever he's gone and made the teams he has coached, edgier, tougher and better equipped to damage opponents.
He spent a year with Ireland between 2013 and 2014 under Joe Schmidt and his impact was immediate. The Irish forwards found the consistency that had been missing and they beat everyone up to win the Six Nations.
He came to the Hurricanes from Ireland in 2015 and it wasn't a coincidence that in his first year as assistant, they made the final, lost to the Highlanders and then bounced back to be champions in 2016.
And while everyone will point to the contribution of the likes of Beauden Barrett, Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu and Nehe Milner-Skudder in those two campaigns, the Hurricanes stormed to the final on the back of a pack that had few stars but an unbelievable work ethic, desire and appetite to defend.
In the 2016 playoffs, they conceded just 12 points and no tries and that was the Plumtree effect. He made them hungry to tackle, eager to hit bodies on the gainline and he turned what was, really, a fairly ordinary pack into Super Rugby champions.
Plumtree helped the unheralded Michael Fatialofa become one of the most industrious locks in the competition. He was able to give Ardie Savea the presence and edge at the breakdown that he needed and managed to get solid players such as Ben May, Mark Abbot and Loni Uhila to play at the peak of their ability all campaign.
It just feels that right now, Plumtree is the right coach who will deliver the right things.