It was in the midst of the All Blacks worst collective performance last year that we saw the best individual game of 2017.
Vaea Fifita, on debut against Argentina in New Plymouth, produced an unforgettably good 80 minutes that included a try that few of the best wings in world rugby could have matched.
There was phenomenal muscularity and agility on show and it vindicated the unusually bold pre-match expectation of All Blacks coach Steve Hansen who said that he felt Fifita was the best natural athlete with whom he'd ever worked.
Hansen even went as far to say that he saw Fifita in the same physical mould as the likes of Jerome Kaino and Jerry Collins. "So I want to see a real physical beast that we know he can be," said hansen.
"But we also want to see him do his core roles, you know, dominate in the tackle, dominate when he carries, use his ball skills in the contact area as well.
"So we're expecting a lot from him because we believe he's got a lot in him. We're going to aim high for him and he needs to aim high as well and - if we aim high - I think he'll hit the target."
A year on and Fifita has been dropped by the All Blacks. They have picked seven loose forwards, which includes three blindsides, and Fifta is not required.
He has fallen a long way in a short space of time.
Usually when a player makes a sensational entrance to test football only to quickly fade, there is a failure in their attitude or mind-set that prevents them from replicating the hard physical work and intense mental approach that enabled them to succeed at first.
If that has been a problem with Fifita, it hasn't been the main factor in his demise. He's been a victim of circumstance; collateral damage in a system that isn't as unified between club and country as the rest of the world makes out.
Long story short - the Hurricanes and All Blacks have disagreed on his best position since day one.
The former saw him as a lock, the latter as a blindside and his lack of Super Rugby game time in the No 6 jersey has damaged his confidence and development.
He's faced the near impossible task this year of mostly playing at lock for the Hurricanes and then having to play at the higher level in a different position.
It hasn't been easy and with his confidence dented further by regular injuries and a nasty concussion, he's not come close this year to being anything like the dynamic force he was in New Plymouth.
And no one can be particularly surprised that Fifita has dropped off the pace. In Super Rugby he's having to absorb a heavier scrummaging load in his legs, play tighter to the ruck and look to be more of a cleaner in the contact areas rather than a ball carrier.
Three months fulfilling that brief and then it was into the June series where the All Blacks wanted him to play wider, get his hands on the ball more and dominate ball carriers with his explosive power off the side of the scrum.
Not many players could make that sort of transition and the fact he has been left out of the Rugby Championship squad and instead been asked to head back to Wellington and play as a No 6 only in the Mitre 10 Cup, suggests he's on project recalibrate rather than being ditched.
Fifita needs to kill the theory he's a lock who can play blindside or a blindside who can play lock and establish that he's a specialist blindside.
That process will start with Wellington and if he can rebuild his confidence, become more of a ball carrier and destructive defender, then he may well be recalled for the All Blacks end of year tour.
They haven't by any means given up on him or decided he's a failed experiment. They know what they want him to be and still believe he can deliver on that enormous potential if he's given the chance.
Fifita may well be recalled for the end of year tour, but if he's not, he'll still hope he's done enough to persuade new Hurricanes coach John Plumtree to stop playing him at lock in Super Rugby next year and that, at least, will be a victory of sorts.