When the Welsh started hiring a succession of New Zealanders to hammer that fundamental rugby building block - fitness - into their players, they had games such as the one against the Wallabies in Cardiff in mind.
Warren Gatland is the latest of a Kiwi trio to take the helm, but the goal is the same: to get the side into the requisite shape to play out the last 20 minutes like it was the first 20 - southern hemisphere shape.
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Wallabies face 'desperate' Wales
Wales's 13-man lineout against the All Blacks shows they can be ingenious when desperate, warns Paul Cully. But he says the Wallabies should be able to beat them easily.
They have an opportunity to test their progress this weekend, against a side that cannot be at their peak.
Worryingly, this will be the Wallabies' 17th game since the World Cup: three more than the All Blacks, five more than the Springboks, four more than Wales and seven more than the French. Throw in the elongated Super Rugby tournament and you have a schedule that is unlikely to have been crafted by coaches. Also spare a thought for Nathan Sharpe as he cranks that big frame out of bed in years to come. It has been a pitiless retirement year.
In the opposite corner there were signs last week that Wales were emerging from a slump. The statistics back up that feeling. They carried the ball for 461 metres, matched the All Blacks for offloads and conjured two tries that were a product of clever coaching and spirit. But more than that, they got something approaching a return to form from their bigger names - midfielder Jonathan Davies, No.8 Toby Faletau and, crucially, captain Sam Warburton. Wales lost convincingly but grabbed something to build on.
New Zealand weariness was a contributing factor to the Welsh mini-revival. The game entered a second phase about the 50th-minute mark with the score at 33-0 and the visitors moving into energy-conservation mode. But another change occurred about the same time, with openside Justin Tipuric coming on for wounded blindside Ryan Jones.
Suddenly, with two fast men in tandem, the Welsh back row had more legs. Warburton was released from direct competition against the game's finest, Richie McCaw. And suddenly, he started to find the ball and drive into contact.
Within minutes of Tipuric coming on, he had carried strongly three times. The Welsh continued to use him as a lineout target. In the 68th minute he forced a crucial turnover penalty between his own posts. This was more like the character that won so much respect at the World Cup. David Pocock's return is unlikely to be an easy one if the Welsh repeat the dual-openside tactic in the second half. It would not even entirely surprise if they started with Tipuric and Warburton.
Better tempo in the later stages against the All Blacks also came from replacement halfback Tavis Knoyle. His pace to the breakdown and snappy distribution overshadowed Mike Phillips's more cumbersome work.
"It's about some of the Welsh players putting their hands up in terms of selection," Gatland was pointedly reported as saying about the Wallabies game and its importance for Wales' Lions candidates, Phillips included. "There are maybe a couple of lines going through a couple of names and they need to re-establish themselves."
It was an emphatic message designed to get an equally emphatic response.
For Robbie Deans, there is a degree of thanklessness in this task. Calculations show that only a winning margin of more than 15 points would be enough to restore the Wallabies to the No.2 ranking in the world. Any sort of loss or even a draw and they slip to fourth.
But confidence for this weekend can be found in strange places. Without the injured tighthead Adam Jones, the Welsh scrum is not a patch on the unit that caused the Wallabies so much grief in June.
Indeed, the home side is down to its third choice, not that the immediate back-up, Aaron Jarvis, inspired much confidence while being taken apart by the Samoans as the game wore on. The Wallabies have the personnel to finish a tough year on a positive note: this will simply test how much they have got left in the tank.