Just as the Wallabies get their heads around the threat of All Blacks wing Caleb Clarke, a player Jordie Barrett described today as a "freak of a talent" with "tree trunks for legs", in comes another destructive ball carrier for Bledisloe III in the form of the returning Ngani Laumape.
Laumape, back from a broken arm for his first game since July, has joined the All Blacks reserves bench for the test at Sydney's ANZ Stadium on Saturday night and has the potential to form a devastating partnership with Clarke, who was almost unstoppable in his team's 27-7 win at Eden Park recently.
Also on the bench as midfield and outside back cover is Rieko Ioane – there's no room for Damian McKenzie – which means the All Blacks appear to be doubling down on size and power for this crucial test.
They saw how damaging Clarke was with a full head of steam after the loose forwards and lock Patrick Tuipulotu made inroads close to the breakdown at Eden Park and it's clearly something they want to capitalise on in a match, which, if they win, will see them retain the Bledisloe Cup for another year.
There wasn't enough of that genuine aggression with the ball in what for the All Blacks was a tepid 16-16 draw in Wellington but, along with an attitude change, they went back to basics for the second test in Auckland and the results were obvious; the Wallabies fell off tackles and playmakers Richie Mo'unga and Beauden Barrett were free to set their own unique agendas.
Hoskins Sotutu's selection at No8 due to Ardie Savea remaining in New Zealand on paternity leave will give the All Blacks extra size up front too and head coach Ian Foster's comment today when describing Sotutu's number one priority – carrying the ball hard and defending just as hard – could apply equally to his power players in the backline.
"[We need to make] sure we keep the formula pretty simple for them so that when they do get the opportunity to carry and get over the gainline that they do it in a very uncomplicated way," Foster said.
No one does uncomplicated quite like the 27-year-old Laumape, who made his test debut in 2017 but who wasn't selected for last year's World Cup due mainly to the presence of Sonny Bill Williams.
"He's very hard to tackle when he's excited and he is at the moment," second-five Jack Goodhue said. "He's been working really hard – he's in the best shape I've ever seen him. You can tell he just wants to be out there."
Jordie Barrett, retained on the right wing after excellent performances in Wellington and Auckland, said of his Hurricanes teammate: "I've been waiting for Ngani to come back for a while. He's been working so hard in the background getting his arm right. What you see is what you get. He's a big, strong fella."
There's a good possibility that Laumape and Clarke may not play many minutes together on Saturday, but it's clear the All Blacks require at least one power player to either manipulate or run over the Wallabies defence.
Clarke, 21, left the pitch with just over 10 minutes remaining at Eden Park due to cramp and, depending on how his backline colleagues fare on Saturday, could make way for Ioane, with Laumape coming on for either Goodhue or centre Anton Lienert-Brown.
The threat Clarke provided in his first start in a test match was a reminder of one of rugby's oldest cliché's – that a good big man will always beat a good little man.
The Wallabies had to commit in order to defend against Clarke but as ever it was a fine line. If they over-committed, he simply put on some footwork to step inside and Laumape has that same ability to create space for himself.
Should Foster see more success in this area on Saturday, having at least one big power player in the backline is likely to be a template for the future.
"It's quite exciting actually," Barrett said of Clarke's influence. "Hopefully everyone is watching Caleb Clarke at the weekend and I can just get along and do my own thing on the other wing.
"He's unreal – he's a freak of a talent, he's got tree trunks for legs… he's excited about getting out there this weekend and hopefully showing glimpses of what he did last time he played."