In little over two weeks, New Zealand men's sevens coach Clark Laidlaw will know which All Blacks will be chasing Olympic gold next year.
The catch this time is that an agreement has been reached restricting Laidlaw to one player from each of the five New Zealand Super Rugby teams – ruling out the prospect of Rieko and Akira Ioane and Sonny Bill Williams featuring again as they did at Rio in 2016.
Before leaving for the final two tournaments of the World Series season in London and Paris, where the men's side must secure a top-four finish to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, Laidlaw met a group of 40 Super Rugby players and All Blacks to outline his vision and stipulations for making the Games squad.
June 10 is the deadline for those within that group to sign up, with the final long list due by the end of July for administration purposes.
"It puts a different slant on selection when you're picking a year out from an event," Laidlaw told the Herald in London this week. "It's not set in stone but if you're not on the list then you basically can't play. That's why we've started so early.
"We've identified Super Rugby players and All Blacks who we think have the potential to play sevens. Now it's in the players' hands to see who is interested and who is not."
Depending on who is keen, Laidlaw may face difficult decisions in whittling down the list to one from each Super Rugby franchise.
Other than the Ioane situation at the Blues, others such as Ben Lam, Wes Goosen, Vince Aso, Vaea Fifita, Asafo Aumua and Salesi Rayasi could all be in the mix from the Hurricanes.
Damian McKenzie would be a brilliant addition, once he recovers from ACL surgery. Chiefs wing Etene Nanai-Seturo already has sevens experience and Solomon Alaimalo could be lethal in extra space.
All Blacks George Bridge, David Havili and rising star Will Jordan would also be welcomed with open arms from the Crusaders.
"There will be some challenges in that. If we get five from the Blues who all want to play and we think they can all help we can only pick one," Laidlaw revealed.
"We want power athletes; we want guys that can shift bodies the same as XVs do. You run faster for longer because of the space so there is a transition up to that high-speed running but from conversations we've had the metrics with the top-end players are very similar."
Next year will be a delicate campaign after the World Cup for the All Blacks. A host of leaders moving abroad opens the door for fringe talent to push up the ranks, and it is therefore possible few All Blacks will chase a spot in Laidlaw's Olympic squad.
"Anybody in New Zealand could probably write the same list. The Rieko Ioane, Akira and Ardie Savea who have played sevens in the past, everyone knows they could come in and play but some of them are not interested.
"We're not naïve enough to think that some of them don't want to play because they're already or nearly an All Black or they just think it's too hard. They might have never played sevens and don't know if they'd be any good.
"Some of them would have to put their reputation on the line. It's a game of consequence. If you make a mistake it gets exposed straight away."
Should most leading All Blacks reject the chance to chase gold, New Zealand Rugby will need to ask some serious, genuine questions about where the Olympics sits in its priorities, not least because of the $900,000 in public funding it receives for the men's side alone each year.
Laidlaw is already hearing South Africa, Fiji, Australia and Great Britain will lure big names.
"From a New Zealand Rugby perspective our strategic goal is to win two gold medals in 2020. The board is supportive of what that needs to look like but ultimately it will be a player's choice.
"I think New Zealand rugby young men still see the All Blacks as where they want to be. If you go to most countries around the world, it would be a bit different around the Olympics.
"Two or three cycles down the track it might be different. You might have a 23-year-old who has played a couple of test matches and he wants to go to the Olympics.
"I would love some of those boys to stick their hand up and say I want to be an Olympian and win a gold medal."
Laidlaw is Scottish but knows his New Zealand Olympic history, rattling off the 123 medals, including three from the Winter Games, since 1896.
Of the 46 gold he notes the rowing eight from 1972, and men's hockey four years later, are the only teams to stand atop the podium.
No doubt this formed a key message in his pitch to the 40 prospective recruits.
"It's hardly been done in New Zealand for a team event to win a gold medal. And I dare say it won't be any easier this time."
Four years ago, when the men's team failed to medal after losing their quarterfinal to Fiji, eventual gold medallists, New Zealand's player availability process was poorly handled, leading to major ructions and an ugly public fallout.
To avoid a repeat, high-performance managers, agents and coaches have all been involved this time.
Laidlaw's dream scenario sees Super Rugby prospects join his sevens squad in November, once their Mitre 10 Cup commitments conclude, and All Blacks filing in at the end of January after returning from leave.
He will, however, be flexible with 10 tournaments next year prior to the Olympics to finalise his best squad.
There is also a balancing act in retaining strong team culture and being true to the core that won Commonwealth Games gold and the sevens World Cup last year.
To this end, established sevens leaders helped set protocols around making the Olympic squad.
With eight players vying for a second crack, there is no shortage of insight about what must be done differently.
"We've got enough guys here from last time to know the good, bad and ugly from that campaign.
"We all know it's an interesting year around building towards a pinnacle event. This is basically four years of work for 90 minutes of rugby.
"That can alter what you do during the year because it becomes all about that rather than being strong on our identity, and how we work as a group. We've got to make sure that's front of mind next year.
"We all know we're here to try and win an Olympic gold medal but if that becomes a sole driver it will unstick us. That was the feedback from last time – it became all about Olympic gold.
"It's a huge challenge and that's why we want players coming for the right reasons. They've got to fit in with what we do because it would probably derail us if that wasn't the case."