He is a giant of a man who has become a giant of the game.
Steve Hansen deserves a contract extension past the next World Cup - his three years in charge of the All Blacks is so impressive that the New Zealand Rugby Union is bang on the mark in opening discussions with the burly coach. Indeed, a contract to the end of 2016 is stingy, considering the exceptional coach he has become.
Such an extraordinary vote of confidence should have nothing to do with the alleged formula-of-faith that won the Webb Ellis Cup in 2011. Indeed, the post 2007 World Cup retention of the Graham Henry regime - which included Hansen - came perilously close to backfiring as the All Blacks struggled in the 2011 tournament and faded in the final.
Formulas are a load of codswallop for coaching appointments anyway. Every situation is unique and down to judging the people involved. World sport is full of coaches who came up trumps at one club, and failed at another.
I'm among the Hansen doubters who have had to eat my words. He has emerged as a rare breed, possessing every quality in the book. Indeed, if he wants the job, and can cope with the pressure, Hansen may be a groundbreaker who lasts distances unimaginable until now.
There are potential challengers led by Dave Rennie, Vern Cotter and Joe Schmidt, but Hansen has turned them into remote ones. New Zealand rugby appears to have found a man who could be reappointed ad infinitum.
1 His record is so good, and his experience so vast, that it would be a crime to throw it away, and would take a newcomer an age to emulate. Running such a massive operation so successfully, while coping with the pressure, is no mean task. Hansen exudes an inner confidence and strength.
2 He gets on with his CEO, to put it mildly. The All Blacks are basically a club in their own right these days, and the partnership between head coach and chief executive is pivotal to professional sporting success. Hansen and Steve Tew might be brothers from a different mother.
3 Hansen can operate as both a trusted friend and tough boss with the players - he is straight to a clear point, gives people a fair chance, but acts when necessary. People know where they stand, even if they don't like where they stand. This gets the best out of people. With a top character like Ian Foster alongside and veteran players of the same ilk, there is no manipulative rubbish.
4 His teams fight to the death. This is a hallmark of great coaches, a prime example being in football with Alex Ferguson's Manchester United.
5 There are dangerous waters to navigate for New Zealand rugby, particularly the pull of overseas money. No doubt Hansen and Tew will always be learning in this but knowing who to keep and how to keep them is priceless.
6 The man sure learns. A criticism of the Henry regime was that it appeared, at times, to be a confused committee. The All Blacks, under Hansen, come across as collaborative, but with one man in clear command. Hansen, once disliked by many in the media, has won the media over. He worked out that if you give a little - on and off the record - you get a lot back. Whether this is a good thing is subjective, but shows how Hansen adjusts.
7 Selections are almost always on the mark - failing special projects are in short supply.
8 He makes big, clear-headed calls - such as trying to lure Wayne Smith back for the World Cup campaign.
9 Hansen has won the public over with a gruff-uncle-with-the-dry-sense-of-humour routine. Winning helps of course. This popularity eases some of the enormous pressure. As a Herald colleague from another editorial department put it: "He's a good bastard". And New Zealand loves a good bastard.
10 There is an absence of debilitating red herrings which swirled around some All Black coaches.
As for the negative column, material is in short supply. Failure at the World Cup would be the obvious one but his team won't bomb and it is inconceivable they would play so badly it would rub out the advantages of keeping him. Hansen may still face tricky questions over tiring veterans next year but he is more likely than anyone else to get the answers right.