There's a blurred line in rugby between inspiring hard man and psychotic thug.
History has had one too many of the latter, making it difficult to recognise and differentiate the former and almost impossible to celebrate them.
Times have changed, too, and there is a reluctance to even flirt with the prospect of being accused of glorifying the impacts and collisions.
But rugby in essence is nothing but an endless test of individual courage and resilience because it relies on players being prepared to be brave.
Too easily and readily the admiration flows for those with speed, agility and creativity and those with the ability to endure and withstand life in the physical extremes are never quite celebrated in the same way.
Rugby doesn't work without selfless hard men though, and it's surely still okay in this day and age to hold in awe someone who can find the resolve to batter themselves without regard for their own wellbeing.
It is the incessant examination of character that makes rugby the sport of choice in schools across New Zealand – as no other game demands its players to dig so deep into themselves.
There is, then, however blurry it may occasionally look, a vast difference between a player who revels in the physical nature of it all and one who likes to indiscriminately hurt others by any means and operate under the euphemistic tag of enforcer.
And in Sam Cane, New Zealand has found an inspiring figure who is most definitely a genuine hard man.
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He's in possession of all the qualities that rugby should shamelessly promote and for which he should be celebrated.
In recovering from a broken neck and returning to action seven months later, Cane has proven himself to be as tough as Richie McCaw, who played through the 2011 World Cup with a broken foot and the 2014 June series against England with broken ribs.
Only Cane will ever truly know what it took to, literally, pick himself off the turf at Loftus Versfeld on October 7 last year with a fracture in one of his vertebrae and then run out at Eden Park last Saturday and deliver yet more fearless, high-impact rugby.
We can only guess at what that journey required and marvel at the resilience Cane has shown to not only make it back, but to have done so with a renewed commitment to prove himself all over again.
This should be the point at which Cane finally wins universal recognition for being a player with special qualities.
It should be the moment that those who have been lukewarm bordering on unsure about his abilities, become sold on Cane's value as a test footballer who brings significant value to the All Blacks.
It should also serve as vindication to why the All Blacks picked Cane when he was just 20 and had barely played for the Chiefs.
Even back then, they saw that Cane was a player with that priceless desire to put himself into places where he was almost certainly going to be hurt.
What mattered more, though, was that they saw that Cane also had the priceless ability to pick himself up when he was hurt and keep coming back for more.
McCaw built the greatest test career in history on the same portfolio and yet Cane has never been revered in the same way.
He's had to battle for recognition and even in the past two years when he's been consistently destructive on defence and obviously high impact in the collision areas, Cane has never quite won everyone round to seeing him as another great All Blacks openside.
That should change now as it should be obvious that Cane's indefatigable spirit and capacity to endure are enough on their own to consider him a great No 7.
Resilience and character are indeed core skills of a test No 7, as McCaw proved at the 2011 World Cup when he, almost on the strength of his desire alone, ensured the All Blacks won the final.
What should also change is the need to endlessly see him as being in direct competition with Ardie Savea.
The continual comparisons are pointless as they are totally different players bringing totally different skills to the same role.
And because of that, it increasingly looks possible that these two can co-exist in the same loose trio.
Cane, prior to his injury, was increasingly playing as an unusually mobile blindside, while Savea is morphing into a hybrid openside/No 8.
What will excite the All Blacks coaches is the qualities they jointly bring and what they could achieve in tandem.