Change is coming to New Zealand rugby and perhaps the dawn of this new era is timely.
From 2008 to 2017 – until the British and Irish Lions arrived – the All Blacks were the most dominant team on the planet. Even that series, in the cold light of day, they should have won, not drawn, had chances been taken in the third test.
As the bones are picked from the Rugby World Cup semifinal carcass and we glance ahead with equal parts optimism and anxiety as to how the resuscitation will begin, such perspective cannot be lost.
This has been a golden period. Two Webb Ellis Cups, including the first on foreign soil, the safeguarding of the Bledisloe Cup, countless other trophies and the first unbeaten season in the professional era represents unrivalled success.
Failure, though, brings introspection like no other result, not least when it occurs in such devastating fashion in the pinnacle event.
It wasn't just defeat to England in Yokohama but its one-sided nature that now enhances the push for change.
No one can accuse head coach Steve Hansen and his team of standing still. This season, they embraced change by injecting youth, revamping their loose forwards and playmaking combinations, and overhauling attacking structures.
In the end, when it mattered most, those changes came up short.
When Graham Henry, Hansen and Wayne Smith were reappointed after their shock 2007 quarter-final exit in the last World Cup failure, the argument for continuity came from the strength of their collective over Robbie Deans' sole pitch.
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That same argument would be much stronger now had the All Blacks won a third straight title in Japan or even, in the most open tournament in history, reached the final.
There can be little doubt the semifinal defeat has instead damaged Ian Foster's hopes of succeeding Hansen, and therefore opened the door to other contenders.
Henry's potential inclusion on the four-man appointment panel may help Foster but he now starts on the back foot.
To swing votes, Foster must assemble a compelling management team to push his case to lead.
One aspect overlooked thus far is the importance of player-led feedback. Each All Black will be consulted in some capacity on who they believe should succeed.
In any environment, not merely sporting, fresh leadership often invigorates.
After eight years of structured trainings, meetings, talking, reviewing, the All Blacks may benefit from the freshening of their culture. It's only natural players suffer fatigue.
The time for new voices appears now.
This is where the case for Scott Robertson strengthens. He flies the flag for a new broom – yet so, too, do others.
Despite Robertson's three Super Rugby titles the Crusaders coach is not, by any stretch, a foolproof replacement. Not alone, anyway. He has no test experience, no head coaching experience abroad. Those holes bring risk.
The overwhelming feedback is, however, that Robertson's players love coming to work every day. Such infectious inspiration is a big tick.
Dave Rennie is another candidate with serious credentials – his two titles with the Chiefs mixed with recent time in Glasgow. Rennie could possibly work alongside Robertson, or even link with Jamie Joseph and Tony Brown in what would be a persuasive package.
Robertson and Foster have declared their hand but New Zealand Rugby must tap every possible candidate – Warren Gatland, Rennie, Joseph, Joe Schmidt, Vern Cotter – on the shoulder in order to run the most competitive process possible.
Anything less would be a failure to carry out due diligence. The more options, the better, when comparing strengths and weaknesses. Even if those experienced characters aren't interested in the head coach position, they could bring value in an assistant capacity.
Like Foster, Robertson must arrive at his interview with not only a clear vision of how to take the All Blacks forward but commanding collective appeal.
Brown could prove a focal figure. First at the Highlanders, then alongside Joseph in Japan, Brown consistently proved his creative attacking genius.
With defensive line speed king, his eye for creating and exploiting space is highly regarded. This is why Robertson and Foster are believed to have both requested his services.
Robertson may try to coax Ronan O'Gara back from France, while Foster is likely to carry Scott McLeod through as his defence specialist.
One major improvement the All Blacks must target next year is the approach of their forwards and the need to match power. They need more mongrel and aggression, more of a consistent, direct focus on the cleanout.
England, South Africa and even the Wallabies in Perth exposed this area.
Intentions to play a fast, wide, expansive, mobile game suits New Zealand's natural skill advantage and largely worked under Hansen.
But the next All Blacks coach needs a hard-nosed forwards mentor in the mix to evoke adjustments. The All Blacks pack should be flying into rucks, coming off the line and knocking over opponents, not the other way around.
As much as anything else, this comes down to strategy, attitude and intent.
Foster is believed to be tight with former Chiefs and New Zealand Maori loose forward-lock Jono Gibbes, but Joseph, on the back of his success with Japan, has more appeal if he can be prised away from Japan's supersized contract extension.
Rennie, who is also in negotiations for the Wallabies job, and Joseph would be superb co-coaches, in many ways the perfect blend of backs and forwards knowledge while demanding the respect of the players.
Captaincy-wise to replace Kieran Read, with change coming elsewhere, it's difficult to initially go past Sam Whitelock's level-headed influence, even though he will skip Super Rugby to play in Japan before returning for the All Blacks' next series against Wales in July.
Ardie Savea is a progressive, next-generation candidate, but possibly for further down the line. If the 26-year-old chooses to stay long term, many years of test rugby lie ahead. Sam Cane has also been groomed.
Expectations for the next coaching team to immediately spark a response that will lead the All Blacks back to the promised land should be tempered.
Major challenges await. Next year, the All Blacks will be without Brodie Retallick while he cashes up in Japan. Beauden Barrett has a sabbatical clause in his contract, too.
Confidence, particularly for the younger members of this side, needs careful nurturing in order to process crippling World Cup disappointment.
Retention of top-tier talent does not get any easier, either, with foreign riches continuing to erode valued depth.
Concerning private investment will further line the pockets of wealthy European leagues while Japan is preparing to launch a Super Eight competition - complete with an IPL style bidding system - that is sure to entice the world's best.
Incoming New Zealand Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson will have his hands full as he assumes the reins from Steve Tew next year.
Outside the All Blacks, Robinson must tackle dwindling participation among apathetic teenagers and the push for greater diversity, both from a female and ethnicity perspective.
Sonny Bill Williams highlighted the latter point this week with his plea for more Māori and Polynesian coaching representation within the All Blacks.
Williams won't be in the team but his statement may have been directed towards endorsing Rennie, his former Chiefs coach and a man of Cook Islands heritage, or possibly Joseph.
Possibly the most daunting prospect of all is that New Zealand Rugby's financial model is near exclusively built on the success of the All Blacks.
Their global appeal and marketability drives funds which filter through every other level of the game.
If results for any number of aforementioned reasons dive off a cliff, revenue may eventually follow.
One defeat, albeit a major blow, does not render the All Blacks broken beyond repair.
It did, however, sharply end the golden era.
Leading the next one will be no easy task.