A couple of years ago, as the Crusaders prepared to play the touring British and Irish Lions in Christchurch, I asked then assistant coach Leon MacDonald about an up-and-coming first-five named Richie Mo'unga.
The then 23-year-old Mo'unga had been terrorising Super Rugby defences until that point but was about to take a very big step up against Lions counterpart Owen Farrell and company.
Mo'unga has since played nine tests for the All Blacks but back then it was the biggest stage he had played on (2016 Super Rugby final in Johannesburg apart). Certainly, it was easily the biggest television audience he had played in front of and such is the unique nature of a match against the Lions it is usually one of the highlights of a player's career.
MacDonald is of course now the Blues head coach and it's likely his close connection with Mo'unga and the Crusaders caused him to sidestep an opportunity to speak to the media in Auckland today before his return to Christchurch for a game that is highly anticipated for all sorts of reasons, and his reply to my question back then was both instructive and slightly surprising.
"There is a lot of Dan Carter in Richie Mo'unga," MacDonald said. "Very rarely do you see him rattled at all, at any level. He's very casual ... I think you need that temperament as a 10 because there's a lot of pressure.
"I watched the [America's Cup] sailing this morning and they just seem to have ice-cold blood in their veins under immense pressure, and that's Richie. He doesn't seem to be fazed and for a young guy to control a team like the Crusaders, with a lot of big personalities, a lot of big strong men who have played a lot of rugby - to run the ship as confidently as he does at his age is a real credit to him."
MacDonald's honesty was a credit to him and his No 10. There was no attempt at a platitude in order to turn the spotlight away from his playmaker because he knew Mo'unga could handle it.
MacDonald probably also wanted Mo'unga to know he had complete faith in him. As it turned out, Mo'unga played well but neither he nor his side could breach a very tight (full-strength) Lions defence and the Crusaders lost 12-3.
The conversation seems relevant now not only because of the coming clash between the Crusaders and Blues (and to a lesser extent Mo'unga and MacDonald), but because of the recent accusations of inappropriate behaviour in a Cape Town bar directed at Mo'unga which he and the Crusaders vehemently deny.
Winger George Bridge is another accused of potential misconduct, which he also denies – in his case alleged homophobic comments in a McDonald's – but it's Mo'unga who will, in theory, be under the most pressure because of the constant decision-making that comes with his position, and the fact that he is set to play a key role for the All Blacks at the World Cup.
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There is anger mixed with disbelief within the Crusaders that the accusations in Cape Town have spiralled into the story it has become.
Reputations are important to coach Scott Robertson and the franchise – both the collective and the individual – but if any player can turn that anger into cold-blooded decision-making it is Mo'unga and if any team can use what they see as adversity to their advantage it is a team who got to the 2011 Super Rugby final despite travelling every week amid the near constant fear of earthquakes.
There is genuine sadness among the Blues' hierarchy at the accusations levelled at their southern rivals but an understanding too that a backlash could be coming from an extremely tight-knit team led by a little but very talented bloke with ice in his veins.