Ian Foster's early call to hand the national captaincy to Sam Cane was only mildly contentious, but already it's problematic.
Before the opening notes of the national anthem have been sung on his tenure as All Black head coach, Foster is faced with the delicate task of having to jury rig a back row to accommodate a captain that is not necessarily out of form, but inarguably not the best at his position in the country.
In doing so questions will once again be asked about the nature of captaincy, its importance in a high-performance environment and the peculiar mystique reserved for All Black captains.
Some of the most famous New Zealanders who have ever lived have been All Black captains, yet until midway through the 20th century it was a remarkably transitory position. Part of that was a matter of frequency – there just wasn't that much international rugby played – but it wasn't until the 1960s until Wilson Whineray became the first man to captain the All Blacks in 10 tests.
Up to that point 33 men had captained the national side in a test. Some were celebrated, including captain of the originals Dave Gallaher, while others, like nuggety inside back Archie Strang, had the small "c" beside his name in the programme just once.
Whineray was the first long-term custodian of the role and you can make an argument that it was the likes of him and BJ Lochore who turned it from a leadership position to an iconic role.
In the years since captaincy and controversy have been frequent bedfellows.
There was upstart David Kirk stepping into grizzled Andy Dalton's boots and lifting the inaugural World Cup. There was Buck Shelford being bladed despite an unbeaten test record as skipper. There was Justin Marshall's brief sortie, undone by a tantrum at Twickenham.
There was the politics of the Taine Randell era, which carried over to the Todd Blackadder era, which carried over to the Anton Oliver era, which carried over to the Reuben Thorne era.
What those last three had in common, particularly Blackadder and Thorne, was they were the subject of heated debate as to whether they were the best in their positions and, as a result, whether you could have a captain that wouldn't normally be guaranteed a starting spot if the team was picked on merit?
Richie McCaw and Kieran Read's longevity and excellence took that debate off the table, but the appointment of Cane to the coveted role has put it back on the agenda, especially as the (officially) best player in the country, Ardie Savea, happens to play his position.
Both have to play – one through appointment, the other through sheer talent – and both are, no matter what number they'll end up wearing, ball-hawking No 7s. Savea is certainly capable of making a decent fist of No 6 and 8, but his effectiveness would likely be diminished.
The All Blacks have yet to assemble in anger under Foster and already compromises will have to be made.
Foster will have to make hundreds of important calls over the next couple of years – you have to wonder why he was in such a rush to make this one.
"It means that people aren't looking over their shoulders wondering who it's going to be," Foster told allblacks.com when Cane's appointment was announced in May.
"It's a chance for Sam… to use the next few months to influence our campaign, whatever it looks like this year."
It's not the most robust reasoning for making an announcement of such gravity while there was so much Super Rugby still to be played, yet it wasn't unreasonable.
Cane has been a member of the "leadership group" for many years. Coaches naturally seek comfort and Foster will find that in a player he knows and trusts.
Yet the awkward calculus remains: on form Cane is a distant second to Savea in their specialist position.
Usually the worst thing you can do to bolster an argument is to take an isolated incident or two and pass them off as representative, but watching yesterday's latest Chiefs' calamity cannot have been a pleasant experience for Cane.
He was skinned on the outside by Mitch Hunt, a slick but simple try that gave the Highlanders hope when there should have been none; was too easily taken out of play by a Josh McKay step that led to Aaron Smith's try; and there was a sinbinning that was avoidable.
Even great players have thorny days but it has to be of some concern that's Cane's mistakes extended beyond skill slip-ups into mental mistakes.
All Black captaincy brings with it increased scrutiny. Cane would be well aware of that.
Cane ticks most of the boxes. He has served a long apprenticeship under quintessential captains. He is brave, often damagingly so. He is intelligent and articulate. He's a really, really good flanker.
(There's also the not-insignificant matter of if-not-Cane-then-who?).
There is no shame in being outshined by a player with the preternatural skillset of Savea, but it won't take long before a knowledgeable rugby public starts questioning if the team's cause is being hindered by the role of captaincy.
THE MONDAY LONG READ
I'm normally underwhelmed and often cynical about Players' Tribune-type articles, but this one by Elena Delle Donne is well worth a read. Sample quote: "I'm now left with two choices: I can either risk my life… or forfeit my pay cheque."