The team that wins the 2011 World Cup will likely employ conservative tactics based on set-piece dominance, a strong presence in broken play, a reliable goal-kicker and field kicking for territorial advantage.
South Africa clinched the last World Cup in France in 2007 because of such tactics and little will change come this September 9 to October 23 edition in New Zealand.
The 2007 Final, in which the Springboks beat England 15-6, featured no tries but seven penalties.
The game perfectly exemplified a tournament in which flair and lethal attack were firmly put on the backburner at the expense of a pragmatic approach of playing for territory and capitalising on opponents' mistakes, at least in the knock-out phase.
The modern-day game of Rugby Union is one played at a furious pace and with an ever-increasing physical intensity.
Physicality and pressure are telling signs of a team's dominance, shown through gameplans focusing on breaking the gainline, phase play, organised pod play and kicking to maximise field position.
The up-and-under has made a comeback with a vengeance, but the kicking game is only as good as the accuracy of the punt and the chasing game.
Kickers aim not for touch, but down the tramlines, as teams obsess with yardage and are content to engage in aerial ping-pong until someone makes a handling error or kicks into touch, handing them the throw-in.
One thing to have changed since 2007, in a bid to hand the attacking side more advantage, is the battle for the ball on the ground. Sides are now allowed to contest longer than four years ago without automatically hearing the referee's whistle.
But it would certainly still be naive to think more creative, expansive teams whose gameplan flourishes on natural flair and a less contact approach, can win the matches that count.
Strong forward platforms and experience to close down games: the last World Cup was fertile ground for experienced teams like South Africa and England, while the romantics suffered watching little-inspiring rugby.
Both teams had massive forward packs offering a physicality which transferred into solid defence and a presence in broken play that offered up the chance of turnovers during a match, as well as an ability to soak up pressure when required.
"A South Africa versus England final, again, would be a travesty," said NZ Rugby World magazine.
"It would inevitably be another deathly dull, barely watchable 80 minutes. A good window to squeeze in the long put-off trip to the dentist."
Assistant South Africa coach Dick Muir countered: "You always want to score more tries, but it's more about winning games than scoring tries.
"If you look at the last six World Cup finals, only nine tries have been scored. That's down to pressure and opportunities. The higher level you get, the less the opportunities that are available to you.
"You'd love to be scoring more tries and playing more flamboyant style but it's about winning a the end of the day. Nobody remembers the tries, it's all about the winning."
New Zealand, winners of the inaugural World Cup in 1987, were favourites to win the 20-team tournament in 2007 but crashed out 20-18 to hosts France in the quarterfinal.
They were also favourites in at least two World Cups since they won the Webb Ellis trophy, but were again undone by a combination of factors.
This time around, the All Blacks have the weight of expectation on their shoulders from a demanding home crowd.
Their squad on paper shows a balanced mix between speed, creativity and innovation, and physical hardness and raw aggression, alongside a mastery of both the basics and technical skills.
In flyhalf Dan Carter and openside flank Richie McCaw, they possess two of the world's finest players, game-breakers in their own right.
But the beauty of rugby is that they are reliant on their teammates if they are to reproduce the goods on Rugby Union's ultimate world stage, they need to be more pragmatic, close games down and not fall apart under siege-gun tactics.
Another indispensable factor for a World Cup and Test match-winning team is a kicker who can be trusted to nail 70 percent or more of his kicks at goal. Keep kicking the penalties in a close match and it will tell.
Twenty-three nations have taken part in the World Cup so far, and out of the six tournaments that have now been held, all but one have been won by a southern hemisphere nation.
After the All Blacks in 1987, Australia won in 1991, South Africa in 1995, then Australia again in 1999. The southern hemisphere dominance was broken at in 2003 when England beat Australia in the final, but the Boks claimed it back in 2007.
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