The All Blacks need a new No 7 and captain this year and with an outrageously brave and brilliant performance against the Crusaders, Ardie Savea presented his credentials to do both.
The indefatigable Savea plays the openside role in a way the whole country understands. Even the uninitiated get a sense that Savea is something special. He's unmissable and for 60 minutes against the Crusaders he was seemingly playing a different game to everyone else.
He was like some kind of super-charged gannet – plunging into rucks at top speed, somehow holding the ball when he surfaced.
His hit rate felt like it was 100 per cent and the fact he played half the game with a damaged knee made him the most prolific one-legged thief since Long John Silver was roaming the seven seas.
It was a memorably good performance and a timely reminder that while Savea could forage in the kit bag for any old jersey, stick it on and look like he was meant to play there, he's most naturally suited to and best utilised at openside.
That's his natural home – the place where his skillset makes the most sense. It's the right role for him as at openside, Savea can throw himself about, chase after the ball and amaze everyone with his energy, his strength and his uncanny timing to be able to know instinctively when the turnover might be up for grabs.
At seven he can be a free spirit – chase, run, carry, tackle and influence the game to an extraordinary degree.
In the basic business of going forward and stopping others from doing the same, Savea is in a different class. He's the easiest player in the country to admire, for the simplicity of his craft and relentlessness of his desire and New Zealanders get him because he brings what everyone wants to see.
In New Zealand, there is an expectation that the seven will be here, there and everywhere. That the seven will be the body flying around with little care for their personal safety and without any sense of holding back or conserving themselves.
There was a bloke, not so long ago, who played like that in 148 tests and there have been times in the last five years when the nation has undoubtedly hankered for a bit of that old-school, all-action approach.
Savea can't but help provoke a sense of nostalgia when he's in his preferred No 7 jersey and playing at his best. With Sam Cane likely to be out of action for four-to-six months, Savea is clearly his rightful heir at openside.
But the kingdom Savea inherits should not include the captaincy. He ticks plenty of boxes to be a legitimate option to lead the All Blacks.
He's world class - one of the best players in the country. He's committed, experienced and respected and there's no doubt he could do it and probably do it well.
But it's a burden he doesn't necessarily need as what has become clear in the last few years is that the demands of the role are extensive and draining.
It's a job that pulls the occupant in all sorts of different directions and the All Blacks would be frankly mad if they did anything to restrict the playing influence of Savea.
He's a player who is at his best when he's uninhibited – set loose to play at a million miles an hour and it feels like being captain of the All Blacks would require him to tailor his game to some extent and ultimately reduce his impact.
Leave him to play his own, marvellously instinctive way and lead with his performance. He'd be more effective without having to be conscious of the wider strategic picture or have to pull others along with him.
There is one other, highly relevant reason, Savea doesn't present as the right choice as All Blacks captain – he's not yet contracted beyond this year.
He's made it clear that his options are open. He came close to leaving for France after the World Cup. He's talked about his interest in the NRL and he's been a big supporter of Moana Pasifika.
It feels like what he needs is a year of being in his preferred role with the All Blacks – encouraged to play his natural game and simply enjoy his rugby and the drama and conflict that comes with it.