This week at least, the All Blacks have resisted the urge to unleash the beast that is Brodie Retallick.
Don't fret, though. Retallick's return is imminent - possibly as soon as next week.
Retallick's name stood out among the notable omissions – Aaron Smith, Ardie Savea, Codie Taylor, David Havili - from the first All Blacks squad of the year unveiled on Thursday.
Savea (knee) and Havili (calf) are carrying niggly injuries but the All Blacks are clearly keen to keep some firepower in reserve for the first of two tests against Fiji next week.
While Beauden Barrett will be swiftly ushered back into New Zealand rugby from the All Blacks bench against Tonga at Mt Smart Stadium on Saturday, part two of the returning Japanese contingent has been caged for another week.
Retallick last played for the All Blacks at the 2019 World Cup before taking up a two season deal with Kobelco Steelers in the Top League that bolstered his bank balance and allowed time out to refresh mentally and physically from the relentless demands associated with the New Zealand game.
During that time, Retallick's absence has been keenly felt.
While the All Blacks significantly improved their locking depth, with Chiefs second-rower Tupou Vaa'i emerging as a serious contender alongside stand-in skipper Sam Whitelock, Scott Barrett and Patrick Tuipulotu – Retallick's return is one of the most keenly anticipated selections this month.
Whitelock and Barrett will start in the second-row against the undermanned Tonga, with Tuipulotu set to come off the bench.
All Blacks coach Ian Foster outlined Retallick's progress since returning from Japan and explained the reasoning for leaving him out this week.
"He's nearly there," Foster said. "I've seen Finlay Christie get smacked out of a ruck and do a somersault and I chuckled and said 'welcome back Brodie' and that was a non-contact session. That means that Brodie is back, doesn't it? He's hungry, he's energetic, he's certainly refreshed, his body is feeling good.
"There is quite a significant adjustment to the intensity side. You've got to remember he's had two weeks in quarantine and then three weeks out of the rugby environment doing his own thing so some of the micro skill sets – the catch pass, the instinctiveness – is coming back so a week in the grandstand won't hurt him."
There were suggestions Retallick dropped as much as six kilograms - from 123kg to 117kg – while playing the fast-paced Japanese style of rugby but Foster dismissed the need to pack weight onto his frame.
"It's not something we're specifically chasing but he's not far away from where he needs to be."
Retallick's return is sure to add another dimension to the All Blacks pack.
One more week, it seems, before the beast is unleashed.