Enjoy the "revenge" victory…and get used to losing.
That's the best advice for All Blacks fans, after a scruffy test victory in Newcastle.
If you've got the blinkers on, the 38-0 win over Argentina suggested the All Blacks are back after consecutive losses to the Pumas and Wallabies.
The result in Newcastle was deceptive, the score was a lie.
It has become very difficult to string top performances and victories together in world rugby, a trend which pops its head up at highly significant moments in the World Cup.
The All Blacks defied that pattern for a long time, which made their amazing run under Steve Hansen all the more impressive.
But the Newcastle test - to my mind - confirmed the current team won't be good enough to carry that on. This squad will have their good days and their bad days, like everyone else, under Ian Foster's still questionable coaching regime.
The latest Tri Nations game was fairly awful standards-wise and Argentina's decision to scramble their selections after the famous Sydney victory a sad indictment on test rugby.
The result was an embarrassingly inept performance from the Pumas, who were put on the back foot, literally, by one of the worst scrummaging displays you will see from a major test nation.
Their handling was also atrocious - even a scrum feed was fumbled.
If test rugby was legitimate, then the Pumas would have hurled everything at a second famous victory. Instead they saved their breath for a crack at the Wallabies.
The scoreline was a blowout because the Pumas were trying to do something which doesn't come naturally to them - play catch-up rugby.
Seeking a miracle, they shovelled the ball along the line with the sort of dexterity you would see during pass-the-parcel at a kid's birthday party.
The Pumas ran like a tractor in an F1 race. The last three tries were gifts, even if Will Jordan snaffled two of them superbly.
Critically, the All Black scrum had its best day for a long time, helped heaps by the Pumas' front row changes, but take that away and not a lot had changed.
Richie Mo'unga ran around like a headless chook, the tactical kicking and particularly the crossfield lobs were off the mark, tries were bombed, breaks succumbed to inaccurate support, the once-great Beauden Barrett was largely anonymous…and on and on and on.
The end of the rugby season can't come soon enough. A fake test - thanks to Argentina's selection policy - at a neutral ground with a Covid-19 mini crowd was a poor watch. Let's hope 2021 can bring something much better.
It's Will Jordan time
An enduring memory from 2020 is the way Ngani Laumape cruised past Beauden Barrett during a Super Rugby Aotearoa match. It's all over for 'Barrett the Great' was my thought at the time. The double world player of the year doesn't have the game management class for a late career burst like Dan Carter at No 10. With his pace - and maybe even his desperation - gone, so is the magic from fullback. He's off to Japan, which won't help. Brother Jordie is a test plodder at fullback. We're in Will Jordan Time.
A salute to TV commentator Justin Marshall, who has an amazing knack of accurately spotting things live, with the replays proving him correct time and time again. It can't be easy, rugby being such a loose game of many moving parts.
Crazy positional shifts
Powerhouse wing Caleb Clarke looks like a great second five-eighth prospect. Just saying. And the way test rugby is played, athletic loose forward Shannon Frizell could be an outrageous wing option, the way England coach Eddie Jones is contemplating using an extra forward in the backline against big opponents.
Man of the Series
It's not been a great year for the All Blacks, but it could have been a lot worse without the towering figure of veteran lock Sam Whitelock as a fulcrum. And he was part of an imposing scrum performance in Newcastle. The number of tests guys like Whitelock have played is staggering.
And this is a big but. Three of Ian Foster's most influential forwards - Sam Whitelock, Dane Coles and Joe Moody - are well into their 30s and unlikely to be in peak condition for the next World Cup. Foster can't live without them at the moment, but he may not be able to live with them by 2023. Coles will be approaching 37 by the tournament in France.
If I was Ngani Laumape…
I'd consider a return to rugby league. He's a player who would need lots of test game time before making a mark in the black jersey, and it's time the former Warrior is not going to get. The NRL would love to snare a blockbusting All Black, and perhaps willing to pay good money. At the age of 27, he'd need to make the decision now.
People say the damnedest things
Particularly All Black captain Sam Cane. "Personally, I don't know a lot about soccer but I think it was the right thing to do," said Cane about laying down a jersey in honour of the late Diego Maradona. Argentinian mega star Maradona was more than a mere soccer player. Cane is building a solid reputation for what comes across as quirky comments out of a rugby bubble. But hey, there's nothing wrong with quirky.