There are just over 800 days before the All Blacks play France in the first match of the 2023 World Cup in Paris – current pandemic permitting.
The match will be by far the All Blacks' toughest test in Pool A (Italy and two nations yet to qualify – one from Africa and one from the Americas – make up the pool) and then we're into the stomach-churning business of the play-offs.
So, with the memory of the All Blacks' last World Cup exit, a limp defeat to England in the semifinal, still fresh, ask yourself this: Which of the new selections in Ian Foster's squad would you put money on to make a real difference in France in just over two years' time?
It's not difficult to make a case for Ethan de Groot, a 1.9m, 122kg, 22-year-old from Southland who appears to be the most exciting tight forward to emerge for the All Blacks since Scott Barrett made his debut, albeit in a defeat, as a replacement against Ireland in Chicago in 2016. Because time's ticking away to the big dance and the All Blacks need options up front.
Their established props Joe Moody and Nepo Laulala, the starting props against England in 2019, are off contract next year and besides which de Groot offers a ball-carrying and mobility point of difference in their No1 that the All Blacks haven't seen in a long time.
No one is likely to dislodge either Sam Whitelock or Brodie Retallick from the second row if they're fit, and 2023 will almost certainly be Retallick's last year in a black jersey (and possibly Whitelock's too).
Assuming Codie Taylor, who started against England, re-signs with New Zealand Rugby (he's in the last year of his contract), he may still be duelling it out with Dane Coles in 2023, but it will almost certainly be Coles' last year in black. He's currently 34.
Karl Tukinukuafe, like Laulala, is a fine scrummager but that's about as good as it gets.
So, the All Blacks selectors are likely to be quietly excited about de Groot because not only is he built like a fridge and works about as hard as one over a New Zealand Christmas, he is a genuine ball player, something they haven't seen in their props since, well, the 2015 World Cup when Moody was leading the French on a merry dance in the quarter-final in Cardiff.
The selection of de Groot and to a slightly lesser extent Ethan Blackadder, a loose forward very much in the mould of his dad, Todd, saves Foster's 36-man squad for the Steinlager tests against Tonga and Fiji from being a little bit, well, underwhelming.
Because what that defeat to England showed is that, for all the changes to rugby over the years; the law tinkerings, the size and power of the players and the huge advance in analysis, the game at the highest level is fundamentally still a battle of wills in which the team with the ability to execute its defensive and attacking structures better than the opposition will generally win.
The All Blacks' outside backs are as potentially dangerous as always but they had their proverbial Ferraris on the pitch against England too, including George Bridge, Sevu Reece and Beauden Barrett, and none of them got out of first gear.
What the All Blacks need most of all for sudden-death rugby is very big men who can dictate terms with aggression and skill.
Retallick's return from Japan will help here – his absence was notable in the defeats to Australia in Brisbane and Argentina in Sydney last year – but de Groot appears to be gold nugget the selectors have been searching for.
In announcing his Wallabies squad recently, Dave Rennie spoke about how he wants his players to find their "dark side".
"It's just a bit of ruthlessness which we talked a lot about last year. We have a lot of good young men and we want them to become different creatures when they cross the chalk onto the field... aggressive, dominant," Rennie said.
He could have been talking about the All Blacks too, and a quote that emerged in the aftermath of de Groot's selection may give a little comfort that Foster is heading in the right direction.
Wondering how tough de Groot is? Here's Peter Skelt, de Groot's former Southland Boys' High School first XV coach: "I remember one day he dislocated his shoulder and he popped it back in," Skelt told Stuff. "He was in a lot of pain. The next day I rang him to see how he was, and I got a hold of his mum who told me he was away crutching. I couldn't believe it - I was thinking he would be sitting on the couch with his shoulder in a sling."