In the final of his series on New Zealand's Super Rugby teams ahead of the 2020 season, Liam Napier looks at the Crusaders.
Scott Robertson is bound to conjure another mystical theme from a galaxy far far away to inspire in ways only he can. But it would also not surprise if the Crusaders come back to the pack somewhat this season. They, too, have endured considerable change.
Of course the Crusaders remain the team to beat; those with the target attached. Three successive titles are undisputable.
As the All Blacks discovered last year, though, constantly chasing history can be a troublesome pursuit.
On a personal level, Robertson is as driven as ever after being passed over for the All Blacks head coaching role.
An unprecedented fourth straight Super Rugby crown derived from his creativity and infectious enthusiasm would certainly make New Zealand Rugby bosses squeamishly squirm ahead of the test season.
Robertson does, however, face significant challenges.
From his championship-winning coaching staff he's lost Brad Mooar - said to have played a key role in the team's strategy - to Scarlets and then the All Blacks.
Ronan O'Gara, the Irishman who had an obvious impact on Richie Mo'unga's development and the Crusaders defence, has left for France too.
Compared to those figures, recently-hired former Wales wing Mark Jones is a much more unknown quantity, one that may leave Robertson shouldering the brunt of the burden.
From a player leadership perspective, the Crusaders have huge voids to fill.
Kieran Read, Ryan Crotty, Matt Todd, Owen Franks have all departed, and Sam Whitelock is on sabbatical in Japan. Scott Barrett, with support from Codie Taylor and David Havili, are well capable candidates but those are sizable shoes to fill for anyone.
If there's one area of concern for the Crusaders it's their loose forwards.
In addition to Read and Todd, who at Super Rugby level in particular influenced every match he played, the Crusaders lost Jordan Taufua to Leinster where he's quickly made an impression.
Promising prospect Ethan Blackadder is also out for majority of the regular season after shoulder surgery, further stripping the back-row stocks.
Robertson, an All Blacks loose forward, will be well aware this area must be a major focus. He may initially lean heavily on the establish trio of Whetukamokamo Douglas, Tom Sanders and Billy Harmon and then attempt to bring through emerging openside Tom Christie, Tasman hit man Sione Havili, North Harbour's Ethan Roots and Cullen Grace.
Could it be teams will now try turning a strength of the Crusaders against them by targeting the breakdown? On paper at least, their forward pack doesn't boast the same vaunted All Black-laden edge.
Wider out Robertson seems set to shift Jack Goodhue to second five-eighth to cover Crotty's departure and partner him with Braydon Ennor.
From a skill perspective this makes sense. Ennor's pace is best utilised on the outside break from centre and Goodhue's size and strength in contact should adapt to the more restrictive No 12 brief easily enough.
Goodhue-Ennor is not, though, a readymade combination.
When paired last year they did not immediately gel. Like any midfield combo, they need time to appreciate each other's inherent nuances. The other option of shifting Havili to the midfield is another case of shifting a player from his preferred, best-suited position of fullback.
Goodhue also confronts the challenge of playing 12 for the Crusaders only to then be asked to slot in at centre for the All Blacks – not an ideal scenario for anyone to ponder. Anton Lienert-Brown is one of few to master the difficult art of shifting seamlessly between both roles.
In the backfield, much excitement centres on unleashing George Bridge, Sevu Reece and Will Jordan. Two recent All Blacks, one destined to follow their path, the Crusaders are again blessed with lethal finishers.
Fijian-born flier Manasa Mataele is back three kilograms leaner and intent on showcasing his freakish talent after his season-ending knee injury in round two last year robbed him of the chance.
Nelson's Leicester Faingaanuku, the 109kg wing, has been in the Crusaders academy for the best part of four years. Now the 19-year-old gets his chance to shine on the end of a classy Mo'unga-led backline.
Mo'unga is the Crusaders' focal figure. No doubt he'll be better off for his 17 tests and he, like others, is sure to have absorbed plenty of lessons from last year's World Cup disappointment.
Back in Super Rugby, Mo'unga should pick up where he left off, provided he gets the desired platform, and thrive with the extra time and space compared to the test arena. When not challenging the line look for his kicking game to pick out Bridge and Reece on the edges.
Mo'unga's controlling presence is reason enough to expect the Crusaders to again be the dominant force but, given their post World Cup loss of leadership, they will do well to maintain the same standards as last year when they dropped just two games.
By round four we will know much more about the Crusaders' new breed. Opposition may just sense a few vulnerabilities.
The Waratahs in Nelson first up isn't the most daunting prospect but three straight Kiwi derbies thereafter - Chiefs (away), Blues (away), Highlanders (home) – will severely test title-credentials and reveal where this squad sits.
Crusaders gains and losses:
IN: Dallas McLeod, Tom Christie, George Bower, Cullen Grace, Sione Havili, Brodie McAlister, Ethan Roots, Isi Tuungafasi, Fergus Burke, Inga Finau, Fetuli Paea.
OUT:Tim Bateman (retired), Ryan Crotty (Japan), Israel Dagg (retired), Owen Franks (UK), Ben Funnell (Japan), Mitchell Hunt (Highlanders), Tim Perry, Ngane Punivai (Highlanders), Kieran Read (Japan), Jordan Taufua (UK), Matt Todd (Japan), Sam Whitelock (Japan sabbatical).