Richie Mo'unga or Beauden Barrett at first five-eighth for the All Blacks is one of the great debates of 2020 that never took flight.
Instead the focus again fell on whether their 10-15 axis is the best way to unlock the All Blacks' attacking potential, or whether a rethink is needed.
In regards to the Mo'unga-Barrett combination it was a mixed bag, much like the overall form of the team which finished their six-test campaign with a 50 per cent win record.
Playmakers are only as good as the platform allows them to be, and the All Blacks forwards were guilty of lacking physicality and urgency on occasions which forced Mo'unga and Barrett to counter smothering defensive linespeed off the backfoot.
That's partly why neither playmaker consistently delivered their best for the All Blacks this year.
Yet there's still a sense more is expected.
Despite constant debate about the merits of starting both playmakers, All Blacks coach Ian Foster says this tactic is nothing revolutionary.
"You don't hear us talking about dual playmakers as such," Foster tells the Herald this week. "Ever since I started working with Steve Hansen in 2012 we've always tried to work on a two-sided attack whether it was Ben Smith, Israel Dagg, Beauden Barrett or Damian McKenzie.
"It's having the skillset of the 15 to run the other side of the ruck and create running and kicking options that help defuse defences.
"There's nothing new to what we've been trying to do in that space."
The lightening rod that dials up scrutiny when it comes to this combination is the fact that Barrett, ultimately, wants to play 10.
The early stages of the Mo'unga-Barrett combination, prior to last year's World Cup, was punctuated by clumsiness as both players effectively fought for the same role on the field at the same time.
Over time, Barrett learned to step back somewhat and pick his moments to slide into first or second receiver when opportunities presented.
There have since been instances where the Mo'unga-Barrett duo clicked with devastating effect – the record victory in Sydney this year one example; the World Cup pool victory over the Springboks last year another.
At other times, though, Barrett's impact from fullback is significantly subdued to the point one of the world's most gifted attacking talents is wasted.
This year Foster says his hand was forced by Barrett's lack of time at 10 for the Blues, with Otere Black instead assuming the reins for the majority of the season.
In five tests for the All Blacks, after missing the opening draw with the Wallabies due to a problematic Achilles, Barrett had four starts at the back and one at 10 in the Brisbane defeat when brother Jordie played fullback and both struggled to assert their influence.
Next year it's difficult to see that dynamic changing.
While Mo'unga returns to run the cutter for the defending champion Crusaders, pushing his case on a weekly basis in arguably the world's toughest domestic competition, gauging Barrett's form during his one-season sabbatical with Suntory Sungoliath in Japan will be much more challenging.
"This year Beauden has played very little at 10," Foster said. "He was going to play 10 for the Blues but that didn't quite work out so he came into our campaign with a very limited test window without having a lot of time at 10 under his belt.
"We are keen for him to play some rugby at 10 and we showed that in Brisbane where we felt the best way to give him time there was to play him there."
The All Blacks have been clear that one of the reasons they largely stationed Jordie Barrett on the right wing this season is they feel he does not yet possess the same playmaking abilities his older brother has from fullback.
Will Jordan's continued emergence has shunted Damian McKenzie down the pecking order, and with Beauden Barrett absent from Super Rugby Aotearoa next year, the impressive Crusaders outside back could mount a challenge for the All Blacks starting fullback role.
The other challenge for the All Blacks is finding the sweet spot balance between running and kicking. Even in their 38-0 victory over the Pumas to finish the year they bombed several tries by opting for the high-risk kick option over through the hands.
After a patchy test season, are the All Blacks any clearer on their best two-sided attacking approach?
"I still want guys who can play both sides of the ruck," Foster said. "Who that will be in those jerseys we'll just have to wait and see."