There's a danger that in time, Ian Foster is going to morph into Captain Ahab, roaming the South Seas in search of his own Moby Dick.
The white whale in his story is the crunching, durable, consistently destructive blindside flanker that was once All Blacks stock in trade but has now disappeared and become as elusive as Moby Dick.
And the All Blacks need to find this Moby Dick of theirs because it's hurting them that they can't.
As everyone can see now, the All Blacks have been on a gradual decline since late 2018. At the core of this erosion has been an inconsistent physicality – a wobbliness in the pack which has seen them bounce between ferocious and passive, no one ever quite sure what they are going to get.
It was once imperceptible but is now undeniable and there is a link between the All Blacks starting to fluctuate in their physical offering and Jerome Kaino retiring.
Kaino, in his prime, didn't just bring destructive tackling and hard-edged ball-carrying, he brought a reputation and in test football, that can inflict untold psychological damage.
Kaino was the bogeyman. He was the devil opponents feared and he was in their heads long before kick-off.
He was also a standard bearer for his peers – a warrior behind whom they could all pile in and truth be told, Kaino's All Blacks teammates were about as scared of him as the opposition and fear of letting him down, of not bringing what he brought, was a powerful motivator.
The evidence is all there to see the value of a destructive No 6 and not just in the numbers. The figures show the All Blacks rarely lost with Kaino on the side of the scrum between 2010 and 2016, but there's more to it than that because the All Blacks pack was rarely, if ever, beaten up in that period.
They lost tests but rarely was it because the opposition pack had stomped over the top of the All Blacks as has happened a few times in the last three years.
The return of the marvellously abrasive Brodie Retallick next year will help enormously in this quest to flatten the physicality curve and lessen the occasions on which the All Blacks are second best in the art of collision management, but the key to it all is finding that white whale to put in the No 6 shirt.
The All Blacks need that indefatigable presence at blindside. They need a player who doesn't blow hot and cold: who doesn't front one week but not the next or one who carries hard a few times and then disappears.
If we cast Foster as Captain Ahab and place him on the deck of the Pequod, he no doubt thought he caught a glimpse of Moby Dick during Super Rugby Aotearoa.
Shannon Frizell was delivering what the All Blacks needed back then. It was his consistency that won him selection – his ability to hit hard and then harder again without wilting, or disappearing or fluctuating from game to game.
But the jump to the next level has been hard for him. He hasn't sustained his impact and in four starts this year he looks no closer to being the player the All Blacks need.
Obviously Foster thinks that, too, as he's given the No 6 shirt to Akira Ioane for the final test of the year.
That's as much reward for the positive half hour Ioane delivered on debut as it is frustration about Frizell's inconsistency.
Ioane has been a long time getting to this point and inevitably, given his history, it is going to take more than one 80-minute performance for him to suddenly be considered the player the All Blacks have been looking for all this time.
He can certainly advance his cause this weekend, maybe even leap ahead of Frizell in the pecking order.
It's difficult to be sure that will last though - whether Ioane will build and grow his game as he must or whether he will forever be stuck in this boom-bust cycle where his form never sticks.
The real Moby Dick within the All Blacks might just be 20-year-old Cullen Grace. He's the one, who in time, seems to have the raw-boned physique, desire and application to deliver consistently aggressive and effective defence and ball carrying.
Even in his first Super Rugby outing he was bending bigger men in the tackle – fearlessly charging over the gainline and playing so well the Crusaders had to keep picking him.
A broken thumb prevented him playing in Super Rugby Aotearoa and that lack of game time has impacted his All Blacks exposure this year.
But he'll have sucked in an enormous amount of knowledge these past eight weeks and Foster will track him closely next year and if Grace continues to develop as everyone hopes and expects, then he'll become the one.
He'll be the All Blacks No 6 of choice by some point next year and the man who starts to restore order in the physical stakes and put an end to this sorry business of the All Blacks being beaten up every now and again.