Call it tough love. In their quest to eradicate costly brain snaps that plagued successive defeats, the All Blacks are adopting out-of-the-box training techniques to intentionally antagonise hot-headed players.
Predictable attack, a lack of urgency at the breakdown and poor execution have all been touch points following back-to-back losses to the Wallabies and Pumas.
Clearly, though, the one major issue the All Blacks are desperate to amend this week is individual discipline.
Scott Barrett's yellow card for a cynical ruck infringement in the surprise loss to Wallabies in Brisbane proved decisive while avoidable penalties against Dane Coles and Shannon Frizell for slapping opponents in the first loss to the Pumas two weeks ago were similar coach killer moments that put the All Blacks under unnecessary pressure.
As they seek to regain their collective poise, and finish the test year by claiming the Tri Nations trophy, All Blacks assistant John Plumtree revealed on Tuesday head coach Ian Foster had been making dubious decisions during team training runs in an attempt to provoke players into reactions.
"We have put a big focus on it during training, putting the players under pressure," Plumtree said. "Fozzie has been working really hard on that by coming up with some creative games where potentially the players might get a little bit upset with some of his decisions, especially when he's refereeing."
Mirroring off the ball niggle the Wallabies and Pumas brought to their contests is also likely to have been embedded in the All Blacks' preparations for Saturday's final outing against the combative, passionate Argentinians in Newcastle.
"We feel like we've come a long way in that space and definitely a lot of the players have learnt a lot more about controlling their emotions on the pitch and when things don't go so well how we go about that, and how we help each other out there as well," Plumtree added. "These are all things that have been a big focus for us the last couple of weeks."
Beauden Barrett, one of the world's most gifted attacking weapons, is among the All Blacks to struggle to spark their natural abilities in recent weeks, both from first five-eighth and fullback.
Rather than pin those problems on the lack of variation in attack, which Foster has criticised since the loss to the Pumas, Barrett instead largely laid blame on the failure to control tempers and not identify space.
"It's clearly been our discipline the last two games you've seen referees been forced to make some big decisions and a lot of penalties against us. We can't give them any opportunities to do that," Barrett said.
"You look at our attack and defence – you can pick that a part as much as you want but it starts with us not giving the refs anything."
Probed on why the All Blacks were suddenly battling to stay on the right side of referees, Barrett said: "We've reflected on that and it starts with the individual. Every player has to have their ways to get back to the moment and not let those little frustrations get the better of them which gives the referee no option but to penalise us which hurts the team.
"It's like a skill or a physical training we need to train the brain as well by putting away time in our week so we are growing the mental side of the game because it is a huge part of the quality of an All Blacks team.
"Our intent may not have been where it needed to be at times and that's something we can learn from but there's no doubting our heart and desire to win and do the best in this black jersey."
In terms of selection, the Herald reported last week Blues loose forwards Akira Ioane and Hoskins Sotutu, lock Scott Barrett and tighthead prop Nepo Laulala were being strongly considered for promotion to the starting side, while Jordie Barrett is under pressure to retain his role on the right wing.
Given the disappointing results Plumtree made no apologies for the lack of game time handed out to fringe prospects such as Cullen Grace, Will Jordan, Dalton Papalii, Brad Weber and Asafo Aumua throughout the four test tour.
"Ideally we wanted to give everyone time on this trip," Plumtree said. "We have a few new guys and we wanted to reward them. Some have got time. Some haven't. Some haven't got a lot. That's the nature of being with this team. It's not a given right to be selected for the All Blacks. We don't have a lot of tests and we as selectors do what's best for the team.
"Right now we're in a situation where we have to do really well in terms of the Tri Nations – that's the trophy we're after, we've got the Bledisloe put away. Now we're in for a sniff at the Tri Nations we'll be going hard at that."