It's hardly surprising to learn that All Blacks coach Graham Henry ties the evolution of New Zealand's rugby to the education system.
The former schoolteacher and principal said players in the Auckland teams he coached through the 1990s wouldn't know their old coach if they stepped into a training session today.
"We talk a lot to the Richie McCaws and the Dan Carters. They've got a huge amount to offer, but they've come through an education system where they've been offering their ideas.
"In the 1990s it was very prescriptive - you were told what to do."
Many guests at a Bledisloe Cup breakfast held at Eden Park yesterday would have been reminded of their own school days as Henry took questions from the floor.
Some answers could have come straight from Henry's old Kelston Boys' High School assembly hall.
"Being totally self-responsible. If we can get 30 players doing that, we're going to have an outstanding rugby side," he said in response to one.
But Henry also has a knack for banter and comedic timing honed through endless aftermatch functions.
He wakes at 4.30am - "Why? Because I'm awake" - and has four grandchildren, with one more on the way - "I love them; they're scared of me".
For all the joking, the breakfast, like tonight's test match, lies in the shadow of something bigger.
What Henry calls "that little yellow cup" is up for grabs from next month, and the All Blacks will again shoulder the hopes of a nation.
He said the pressures that come with being the All Blacks coach could be harder on his friends and family.
"It's different when you're at the coalface. [Henry's wife] Raewyn gets pretty nervous, because she can't control it. I feel I have some control ... and so you don't get as hyped as people who haven't got that."
But there is a limit to what a coach can do. Henry sat in the stands as his much vaunted team crashed out to France in the quarter-finals in 2007.
He now believes the team policy of taking each game as it came and not talking about the Rugby World Cup was a mistake.
"It was the wrong approach. It's a terrible feeling. And it just about kills you, quite frankly."
Henry, 65, is widely tipped to stand down as All Blacks coach after this year's tournament.
More time with family and fishing trips to the Bay of Islands beckon - unless the All Blacks stumble again.
"You're dead if you lose. I'll have a little beret and a big beard, smoking marijuana and drinking red wine, and I'll be in the south of France somewhere. It will be a bastard if we lose."
Either way, we may not see his like again.
Henry coached his way up from school teams to the All Blacks, having only played senior club rugby himself.
"I've been coaching for 100 years, and I've been lucky to make those steps. Nowadays you probably need to be a prominent international to get that opportunity. Which is sad."