With so much excitement generated by the host of All Black new boys, it was hard to fully appreciate the contribution throughout June of one of the test side's older boys.
One old boy in particular delivered three consecutive world class performances and was the undisputed star of the campaign - Conrad Smith. That Irish captain Brian O'Driscoll was only able to provide fleeting moments of influence was testament to the defensive prowess of his All Black opposite.
Smith has a decent claim to being the best centre in world rugby these days. He outplayed O'Driscoll in the series and the only centre pushing for global recognition is Jaque Fourie whose current pedigree is hard to assess as he's ruled himself out of international selection while he plays for Kobe Steel in Japan.
Smith's game is complete and massively influential to the smooth running of the All Blacks.
He tackled everything and anything in June - the Irish, normally capable of some creative and penetrative running in the midfield - went clunk all series. There was no space, no cracks to exploit in the All Black defensive wall.
When Smith had the ball he went forward. He's become adept at dancing on his feet, ducking, diving and driving over the gainline and building momentum. His core offering of immaculate decision-making was ever present and in Hamilton it was his stunning one hand pass that put Hosea Gear into space.
Other players have showier skill-sets that grab the attention more fiercely but Smith is relentlessly excellent in everything he does and his true value will only be fully realised if and when injury strikes and he's not able to take his place in the No 13 jersey.
He is the new Frank Bunce - in that the older Smith gets the better he plays. Bunce was like that - breaking into the team as a 30-year-old he was a better player again by the time he was 35.
Can Smith do the same? Can he continue to improve and develop into his mid 30s? There is some optimism that the answer to that is yes. Smith has never had great top end pace and it has never really mattered.
As he approaches 31, he looks to be the same athlete he was when he made his debut in 2004. What he lacks in pace, he makes up for in anticipation and knowledge. He moves ahead of the ball and reads opposition defences expertly so as he has stolen a metre on them before they realise.
His tackling has become more secure - backed by the mental certainty he possess now that he can not only stop attackers, he can send them backwards. His timing onto the ball is exemplary and his ability to pick crafty angles gets better.
Smith looks like he might have a few years left in him and far from worrying whether he can make it through to 2015, perhaps it is more pertinent to wonder just how good he might be by then.