People have been asking me about plan B and C and all that romantic stuff but we need to go out there and enforce our gameplan
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer believes that the evolution of the game may see the end of specialist openside flanks.
There is no doubt that the supply of 'fetchers' has dried up considerably in recent times, with Heinrich Brussow the only Test-quality candidate in South Africa, and it seems that the game may be moving past that specific role.
Meyer believes that factors such as the intensive way the breakdown is monitored and a focus on committing numbers to the defensive line has diminished the role significantly.
The Bok coach does not have a traditional openside flank in his squad, and expects that role to be shared among the team as it has been for South Africa's top three Super Rugby franchises this year.
The Sharks, Bulls and Stormers all operate without a 'fetcher' and employ variations on the intense gainline siege that the Boks are set to favour under Meyer, who says he would prefer to field an openside flank but believes they may be a dying breed.
He said: "I think it will be interesting to see how they referee the breakdown because suddenly even New Zealand is, I won't say moving away but there are not a lot of specialist openside flankers, and if you look at the top sides even the Chiefs didn't really have a specialist openside flanker.
"So that is going to be interesting to see how it evolves because I have always been a big believer in having a specialist openside flanker, but it depends how they are going to ref it.
"The game is definitely quicker because there is not as much competing on the ground, I also think that how the game has moved forward is that you need more than one guy competing on the ground. If you look at the stats most of the hookers have been the ball-stealers because usually the guy comes blind and the hooker is defending on the blind," added Meyer.
The fact that the ball is in play off the ground for longer means that the priority is for all loose forwards to tackle and run harder than anyone else and dominate the collisions rather than pouncing on tackles and stealing the ball.
"I think the main thing is that the game has got a lot quicker so you need more athletic players. If you look at most of the games are either won in the first ten minutes where you set the trend physically and mentally and then obviously in the last ten minutes when you have the impact players on and the guys get tired, especially the front rowers and the tight five and guys can find holes.
"So you need more guys who can play to the ball, but I think the basics are still the same I just think the game is getting much quicker and the ball is in play longer," said Meyer.
A major criticism of this approach is that the team is not really set up to adapt their strategy, and run the risk of being exposed as they were in the last Test against England when they were unable to play off the front foot, but Meyer is convinced that the key is to focus on imposing themselves on the opposition and committing to their strategy rather than preparing themselves for when things go wrong.
"People have been asking me about plan B and C and all that romantic stuff but we need to go out there and enforce our gameplan which we showed in bits and pieces against England," he said.
You may view this single-minded approach as either a blessing or a curse, but either way it will be interesting to see how the Springboks fare at the breakdown in the Rugby Championship without an openside flank and against some of the best the game has ever seen.
By Michael de Vries