When Liam Squire was yellow carded in last week's quarter-final it was another victory for a PR campaign that has spiralled out of control and further evidence that the World Cup will most likely be held hostage by erratic and needlessly ineffective officiating.
The relentless march of the Crusaders and their ability to conjure the sort of rugby that captures hearts and minds hasn't been able to stop anyone from wondering whether endemically poor officiating is going to have a catastrophic impact later this year.
World Cups have a long and colourful history of being adversely affected by major refereeing mistakes.
There was the Wayne Barnes incident in 2007; the Derek Bevan no try Abdel Benazzi decision in 1995; Paddy O'Brien's self-proclaimed car-crash performance that allowed France to beat Fiji in 1999; Andre Watson's bizarre technical infringement penalty against England in the 2003 World Cup and Craig Joubert's entirely wrong offside shocker in 2015 that confined Scotland to an unjust quarter-final loss to the Wallabies.
And yet as painful and frustrating as these incidents were, they strangely come with a resigned acceptance, even by those directly affected, that human error is part and parcel of the sporting fabric and under pressure, with the whole world watching, mistakes will be made.
But after 17 weeks of Super Rugby the concern is not that the World Cup will be rocked by a random moment of madness, but that it will be strangled by a chronic failure by officials to pick what is happening in scrums; sensibly adjudicate at the breakdown and most frustratingly of all keep teams onside.
For 17 weeks certain teams have been able to hoodwink ill-deserved scrummaging penalties.
The Sharks were so good at pretending to scrum when they were in fact doing anything but, that they earned a draw in Christchurch and left Kieran Read publicly asking referees to get better at working out when they are being conned.
The breakdown has had the same rule of law as the Wild West and it appears now that players can leave their feet with impunity and enter from wherever is most convenient.
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As for the offside line...no official seems to even know where it is or if they do, there is no appetite to consistently keep defending teams behind it.
Too readily the complexity of rugby's rulebook is blamed for the lack of refereeing control and consistency, when in actual fact the cause is a lack of clarity as to the respective roles of the three officials in charge.
There is no uniform job description for assistant referees: no set areas for them to monitor and no specific areas for which they are held accountable.
Different referees have different expectations of their assistants and it's a make it up as they go along allocation of roles and more often than not it becomes obvious that the man in the middle doesn't trust those on the sidelines to have understood the vague instructions they have been given.
And this is arguably what is driving international coaches insane with frustration ahead of the World Cup and all of them must be wondering why it is World Rugby can't simply assign specific roles to the referee and the assistants to ensure that games are not needlessly reduced to farce.
The World Cup is now a billion dollar event and yet World Rugby can't draw up a list of chores for assistant referees to protect the tournament from ridicule.
It's plain mad and possibly even more damaging will be this near obsession to hand out yellow cards as part of what feels like a nonsensical directive so that rugby can be seen to have a zero tolerance policy on any collision that falls outside of being textbook perfect.
What we have seen in Super Rugby is that the mentality of referees appears to be if in doubt, hand it out presumably because governing bodies want a compelling statistic around the rise of yellow cards so they can have an evidential basis that they are doing all they can to protect players' heads.
The Under-20 Junior World Championship was almost rendered a waste of time as officials were hell bent on carding anyone who came even close to tackling above the so-called nipple line.
Players want to be protected but they also want to be able to play and last year when the All Blacks series against France was marred by yellow and red cards that were overturned in judicial hearings, Sam Cane and Ryan Crotty said that in their experience they had rarely encountered intentional foul or reckless play.
It was their view that collisions can do wrong, but mostly they are the result of a late change in body position or direction by the ball carrier and/or the tackler.
They support heavy sanctions for those whose technique is reckless or lazy or who obviously enter a collision with the intent to hurt, but not on those occasions when the speed and nature of the game causes unexpected and unavoidable outcomes.
Common sense, though, appears to have no chance of being heard in the places where it needs to be.