It was described as courageous but Liam Squire's decision to make himself unavailable for the All Blacks could just as easily have been categorised as selfless.
It wouldn't be right to simplify the complexity of emotions, needs and issues that drove Squire's decision-making, but it's fair to suggest that at the core of his reasoning was a profound understanding that to have said yes to selection would have damaged the team more than it would himself.
Squire, like every other All Black who has become a regular pick in the Steve Hansen coaching era, has developed an acute awareness that he belongs to something bigger than himself.
Plenty of professional teams talk extensively about their culture and yet what they really have are a set of rules and a weekly preparation routine.
There's not a deep understanding of their unity of purpose, of their collective values, and most importantly there is not a universal acceptance that sacrifice has to be made for the greater good.
The All Blacks are different and they understand that chasing individual glory has the potential to rain chaos on the team and of all the qualities Hansen has instilled since he came into the job in 2012, it has been his ability to persuade his players, from the new boys to the biggest names in the game, that their personal ambition is secondary.
He has made his team understand the power of selflessness and the concept of team and not in some theoretical or abstract way.
This All Blacks side practically applies the concept of selflessness on a daily basis.
There is no patch protection and no hoarding of intellectual property. For four years between 2012 and 2015 veteran hooker Keven Mealamu mentored Dane Coles knowing the younger man would, and indeed did, take his jersey and starting place in the team.
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What could have been awkward never was because Mealamu embraced the opportunity to enhance the team.
Richie McCaw in the same period let Sam Cane plug straight into his hard drive, as it were, and download all he could about openside play. Sharing knowledge made McCaw vulnerable but the All Blacks stronger and it's this continued acceptance by the players that the team is more important than the individual which has come to define Hansen's coaching tenure.
Last year, when it seemed half the nation at least was trying to create a rivalry between Beauden Barrett and Richie Mo'unga, internally the two became closer.
In the build-up to Mo'unga's first start at No 10 against the Pumas in Nelson, he roomed with Barrett that week, revealing that the senior man had been extraordinarily generous in imparting his wisdom.
There was Mo'unga, already breathing down Barrett's neck and the latter was willing to do all he could to help the former play out of his skin when the time came.
To operate with such selflessness takes not only strength of character but an unwavering belief that collective success is all that matters. It also requires that the individuals believe in the value of the team and the qualities it represents.
Major corporations around the world would love to have their employees and executive teams buy into this concept with the same conviction, but so few are able to persuade individuals to think beyond themselves.
The All Blacks have managed to create an environment where everybody sees the bigger picture and the respect in which the team should be held and this small miracle is too readily ignored by those who want to know what has made them so successful for so long.
It's a huge deal for humans to go against their natural instincts of looking out for only themselves. The corporate world is known as the rat race for a reason and the high-performance arena, where ambition and drive are just as powerful, should be open to the same corruption of ethics.
But the All Blacks have been guided by a desire to collectively rather than individually succeed and how Hansen has managed to sustain such cohesion and unity for so long will be his secret to keep.
But there have been little examples over the years which have shone some light on how the team operates.
In 2012 Ali Williams was harbouring a grudge against a media organisation for their coverage of his ill-considered attempt at humour in a press conference in the week of the World Cup final the previous year.
When he refused an interview request it is believed he was marched into the team room, where Hansen asked him to read aloud, from the whiteboard, the number one rule. It was: team comes first.
Hansen then asked Williams how exactly his refusal to speak to this media organisation was helping the team.
Meeting over and Williams gave the interview the next week and dropped the grudge.
Just as revealing has been the rule around sulking. Players are allowed a bit of time to feel sorry for themselves if they are not selected and then they have to ask what they can do for others.
In 2016 Israel Dagg was the surprise selection on the wing for the third test against Wales, effectively ousting the long-term incumbent Julian Savea, with whom he was also sharing a room.
Asked how he thought Savea would be feeling about being dropped, Dagg said: "There's a rule in this team - you can sulk for a minute and then you've got to get over it and move on and do what's best for the team.
"I've been in the same shoes, rooming with guys who have got opportunities and I've not played. You've just got to help them prepare. Jules has been doing that this week. Deep down he will be hurting. I've felt it and it's not a nice thing, but it makes you stronger. I'm sure he'll come back and bowl people over."
The strength of the All Blacks culture will become a major factor later this year at the World Cup, when tough selection decisions have to be made every week.
There will be disappointed individuals and yet somehow they will put that to one side and be prepared to commit entirely to diminished roles without bitterness or resentment.
It's debatable whether other teams will be able do this so easily and readily and this, more than the scrummaging prowess and all-round ball skills of the team, may prove to be their most effective weapon in Japan.