Andrew Mehrtens, Carlos Spencer, Dan Carter, Stephen Larkham, Morne Steyn. History tells us to genuinely challenge, any rugby team needs an accomplished playmaker. This is why Aaron Cruden may prove the best piece of business for next year's Super Rugby season.
New Zealand's super signing day is nothing more than a marketing plug. With all teams announcing headline additions well ahead of time to guarantee maximum exposure in a saturated market, the so called big reveal is largely left with the next generation of talent that will emerge in due course.
Of all the major signings for the 2020 season, Cruden stands out. The closest contender comes in the form of the Hurricanes nabbing one-test prop Tyrel Lomax from the Highlanders – another recruitment revealed months ago – which significantly bolsters their budding front-row stocks.
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Cruden's influence could, however, outweigh them all – even that of Beauden Barrett's at the Blues given the All Blacks playmaker will only join his new franchise midway through the season following his extended leave.
Cruden, meanwhile, will be on deck in Hamilton from January 6 after a mini break which should give his body time to fully recover. He will be with the Chiefs for preseason games, and available for their full campaign, before departing for Japan.
Cruden's 50 tests offer invaluable guidance, while allowing Hawke's Bay talent Tiaan Falcon another year to develop at his own pace.
After a difficult two-and-a-half-year stint in Montpellier, where he suffered several injuries, Cruden will relish returning to a team close to his heart.
Super Rugby suits his silky, subtle game, much more so than the combative nature of the French Top 14.
The accumulative toll on Cruden's body will rob him of the same zip off the mark that allowed him to seamlessly glide through gaps and help push the Chiefs to their maiden titles in 2012/13. Back then, he had Sonny Bill Williams rampaging outside him in career-best rugby form, too.
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But in terms of rugby intelligence and temperament, Cruden is a great get for the Chiefs. The ability of a playmaker to garner time and space, to make decisions under pressure, cannot be underestimated at any level.
Start Cruden outside Brad Weber, inside Anton Lienert-Brown, and the Chiefs backline could be lethal. His combination with Damian McKenzie cutting in from the back, chasing Cruden's trademark chip kicks, should be one to savour next year.
Mix in Solomon Alaimalo and Shaun Stevenson on the edges and Cruden sure has plenty of talent to work with.
Warren Gatland need look no further for attacking inspiration, either.
The Chiefs challenge will be providing enough quality ball. While flush with All Blacks props - Nepo Laulala, Atu Moli, Angus Ta'avao and Reuben O'Neill who made the squad but not the field – their locking stocks appear wafer-thin with Brodie Retallick enjoying his Japanese sabbatical.
Glance through New Zealand's other backline generals and one could summarise that, in this department alone, the Chiefs are now better placed than all but the Crusaders who, of course, claim Richie Mo'unga.
Josh Ioane should now kick on with the Highlanders after his debut for the All Blacks prior to the World Cup.
The Blues will mix and match Otere Black and Stephen Perofeta until Barrett arrives. The Hurricanes are likely to favour the largely unproven Fletcher Smith, with the experienced James Marshall and Jackson Garden-Bachop other options, after failing to source a suitable Barrett replacement for this season.
Provided he stays healthy, expect Cruden to again make his mark at the Chiefs.
The other, intriguing signing for next year is England centre Joe Marchant to the Blues.
It was thought New Zealand Rugby's ground-breaking arrangement with Harlequins would facilitate Kiwis heading north on short-term stints, not the other way around.
Yet here is Marchant, 23 and in the prime of his career, moving south for one season.
According to Opta stats, since the start of the last Premiership Rugby season Marchant has the leading try involvements (12 tries, five assists), breaks (24), metres (792), gain-line success (61 per cent) and second-most defenders beaten (50) of all centres in that league.
Transport those feats, and he could be a serious hit. How Marchant fares could pave the way for others to follow.
At your Messi...
Camp Nou and Lionel Messi. Sporting meccas don't get much better.
For many Barcelona's 4-1 victory over Celta Vigo last weekend was another run of the mill Spanish La Liga match.
The experience of watching Messi, the great, score three goals while savouring football's revered venue is, however, one to forever cherish.
By the final 10 minutes Messi had checked out. Whenever a teammate passed him the ball, he knocked it straight back. Indifferent. Disinterested, even.
By that point the game was well sealed. The magician's work was done – his three penalty attempts all perfectly executed without so much as breaking a sweat.
Two were near identical – stunning right-hand curves that hit the top of the net, leaving the goalie no chance, and sending home fans into raptures.
Messi also teed up Antonie Griezmann, only for the Frenchman to fail with his finish.
On this not-so-ordinary evening, the Argentine was as peerless as any when he takes the field.