The tactic came to the fore during the British and Irish Lions series in 2017 and became a consistent theme through to the World Cup two years later - defensive line speed was the kryptonite opposition used to bring the All Blacks to their knees.
This weekend the 100th test between the All Blacks and Springboks offers the perfect gauge to judge just how far Ian Foster's men have evolved in the face of smothering defensive pressure.
For all the Springboks' vaunted power and physicality, this area of the All Blacks game has been hugely underappreciated in 2021.
Lost in the dazzling offloads and 24 tries from their past four tests is the vast improvement from the All Blacks forward pack that has come to recognise the best way to counter defensive line speed is to be direct; punch over the gain line and clean rucks with intent and urgency to generate quick ball.
Done repeatedly this sequence leaves opposition backpedalling, effectively negating their ability to stifle key playmakers.
The tone has been set by the likes of Nepo Laulala, Brodie Retallick and Akira Ioane this season. Should the All Blacks pack stand up to the bully boys of world rugby, everyone will be forced to admit their evolution.
All Blacks forwards coach John Plumtree knows that won't come easy, though.
"If you're watching us play at the moment with the high tempo skills that will all be under pressure because of the Boks line speed," Plumtree noted.
"There's only really one way to stop line speed and that's if we put them on the backfoot, and that's where the forwards come into play. Our set piece; how we carry the ball, our cleanout work – we can't let the Boks get set and come off the line hard.
"Up front is where it's going to be won and lost."
In this regard, despite the Boks woeful form following their 2-1 Lions series success in South Africa, Plumtree is predicting his most challenging assignment since joining the All Blacks last year.
"This will be the toughest forward battle since I've been involved. Everything we do has to have more power and speed. We've got to play at a high tempo because that's our game. We can't fall into the trap of the game slowing down."
Outside the pack the other notable success in countering line speed is the All Blacks kicking game. They haven't always got it right by over kicking at times, but through chips over fast-approaching defences and utilising the speed of their outside backs the All Blacks have often profited this year.
With fullback Willie le Roux, centre Lukhanyo Am and wing Makazole Mapimpi the Boks possess no shortage of attacking threats yet there's no secret to how they will attack the All Blacks in Townsville.
After their self-confessed worst performance in three years, in the second defeat to the Wallabies in Brisbane where their skill execution was horrible when attempting to attack more, everyone expects the Boks to revert to type.
Their scrum, maul, and high volume of kicking, particularly from halves pairing Faf de Klerk and Handré Pollard, will be focal points. Nullify those trademark strengths, and the Boks will have nowhere else to turn.
The Wallabies proved the Boks' year out of the test arena in 2020 has left them unable to hack the pace the All Blacks will attempt to impose from the outset.
"They'll be hurting a lot," Plumtree said. "They're a very proud rugby nation. They'll have a bit of a corral mentality, especially around their own media and fans. When they start getting stuck into the Springboks they become a more dangerous animal.
"It's too late for them to change the way they want to play – that just wouldn't make sense, but they'll be looking at the areas that are letting them down and have given them success.
"Their kicking game is a real weapon for them; their forward play, defensive line speed. We know there's a lot of heat coming and we've got to be able to deal with that because the big parts of their game they would've been disappointed with.
"We saw how good they were at the World Cup around those parts of the game so that's what they'll go back to."
On a personal level Saturday's headline occasion will be special for Plumtree. He has a South African wife; donned the Springboks jersey in sevens and spent half his adult life coaching and playing in the Republic. On that basis, there's no one better to remind the All Blacks exactly what's coming.
"To be involved in a game like this is a dream come true for me. I get a lot of messages from South Africa and New Zealand when we do well so I'm caught in the middle of it all but there's only one team I want to win in the weekend."