Ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith have played together long enough that they could be likened to an old married couple.
They've marked numerous milestones throughout their lengthy careers, which have worked in unison for the Hurricanes and All Blacks for the most part.
The pair will mark their 50th appearance in the midfield for the Hurricanes in Wellington on Saturday night when they host the Chiefs at Westpac Stadium.
Nonu and Smith have improved in a range of ways since they first teamed up together for the Hurricanes in 2006.
"I think the biggest thing we've worked on is probably our communication," Nonu said. "It's bit like being married; good communication [helps]. You don't have to spend a lot of time together but when you do get together it's golden."
The duo have been in golden form in 2015 - Nonu particularly so - as the Hurricanes have won 10 from 11 to sit atop the standings as Super Rugby moves towards the business end of the season.
Nonu's return to the capital after spending the past three seasons bouncing between the Blues and Highlanders has been well received by Smith.
"Having the season this year with him, it's certainly something I've really cherished and it's been nice," Smith said. "I know he's enjoyed it and for me, seeing how much pulling on the jersey again has meant to him, it's helped me a bit and the whole team gathered a bit of energy off that."
The secret to Smith and Nonu's success is they have skills that bounce off each other, which helps them create a great one-two punch, while Nonu's game has improved exponentially during his career as his kicking and passing has developed.
When Nonu first played Super Rugby in 2003, often on the wing, he relied on pace and power but the subtle touches are now evident in his game, while his defence has been resolute this year.
"They're a world-class combination; they complement each other outstandingly well," Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd said.
"You've got the brute force of Ma'a and guile of Conrad Smith and over the years they've developed each other's traits well."
Meanwhile, first-five James Marshall, who is starting in place of the injured Beauden Barrett (knee), overcame his own knee complaint to train with the side today.
Marshall has been named to start on Saturday with Otere Black on the bench and Boyd said he had no concerns around Marshall's fitness, despite the 26-year-old finishing practice early.
"He's fine and I'm happy with Otere too. He's all over the top of what he needs to do so we don't have a problem in that space."
The Hurricanes will welcome back halfback TJ Perenara and wing Julian Savea who missed last Saturday's victory over the Sharks as they were given a rest.
With five games to go this season, the Hurricanes could go close to locking up the New Zealand conference, and home advantage in the playoffs, with a win this weekend.