Forget the Scott Robertson v Ian Foster coaching debate. Another Kiwi coach – "the new Wayne Smith" – is the more sensible answer to the All Blacks' problems, writes Gregor Paul.
Perhaps the time has come for Joe Schmidt to be cast as the new Wayne Smith and injected into the All Blacks coaching team on a ticket of innovation.
What's become clear at the end of a season in which the All Blacks won 12 of 15 tests, is that they are not entirely broken, but nor are they necessarily going to become whole again without taking decisive, transformational action.
The majority view appears to believe that there is only one act to consider and that's chopping the current coaching team and replacing them with Scott Robertson and his band of merry men.
But this isn't an argument borne of detailed and considered analysis, but is instead illustrative that reasoned debate has been the real casualty of the Covid age.
Just as it seems everyone has to be definitively pro or anti-lockdown, or declare an allegiance to either Meghan and Harry or the Royal Family, so too is there a sense that New Zealand's rugby media want New Zealand's rugby public to decide whether they are in Ian Foster's camp or Robertson's.
Given the findings of a Herald poll, where 80 per cent of respondents said they wanted Robertson to replace Foster, it would seem that most of the rugby public have already made up their minds about where their allegiance lies.
The problem, however, with this obsessive need to create polarised scenarios and consider only the extremes is that it means no one lands on the middle ground which has, certainly in the case of previous All Blacks coaching decisions, been the most fertile.
Change does not always have to be sweeping to be decisive. Definite action does not mean extreme and New Zealand Rugby has thrived in the last decade by understanding the difference.
In 2009 the All Blacks lost four of their first eight tests, couldn't win a lineout or catch a high kick.
There were howls back then every bit as loud as the ones we are hearing now, to sack the coaching team of Graham Henry, Steve Hansen and Wayne Smith.
But those calls were resisted and instead there was an internal reshuffle where Hansen and Henry effectively swapped roles and then redrafted the gameplan to better reflect their desire to play off counter attacks.
Two years later the All Blacks won the World Cup on the back of their brilliance under the high ball and solidity of their lineout.
In 2014, head coach Hansen sensed the All Blacks needed freshening up coming into World Cup year and he kept a place open for Smith to come in as defence coach.
Smith's defensive system took a few months to master but it was the bedrock of the successful campaign and while it looked like Dan Carter kicked them to victory in that tournament, the All Blacks tackled their way to that title.
Looking back through the last decade, what's been important is that the All Blacks have periodically rejuvenated themselves with decisive action.
They have been bold enough to forfeit the status quo when they have been struggling, but not so reckless as to throw away everything they have built and this is why the prospect of asking Schmidt to join the coaching team has to be considered.
Whether Schmidt, who has agreed to re-join the Blues next year in the role of support coach, can be persuaded to throw himself back into test football after seven exhausting years with Ireland is the great unknown.
But the question is certainly worth asking because bringing in Schmidt would be the perfect way for the All Blacks to be exposed to fresh ideas that build on rather than replace what they already have.
Having coached Ireland for seven years he knows how the Northern Hemisphere sides think and he's not steeped in the ruck and run culture of New Zealand.
He also coached Ireland to two victories against the All Blacks and therefore it has to be assumed his ability to accurately gauge strengths and weaknesses could be well utilised in almost any role but is probably best suited to shaping the attack.
Schmidt would bring a level of rugby intelligence and test experience that would be instrumental in enabling the All Blacks to know how to re-shape their approach to test football.
The point that Foster has tried to make in recent days is that the All Blacks season wasn't the unmitigated disaster the pro-Robertson lobby says it was.
Those atop their soap boxes calling for Foster to be fired, blithely ignore that the world champion Springboks lost five of their 13 tests this year.
Everyone is raving about France, but they lost to Scotland at home as well as to England and Australia twice and finished the year with seven wins from 11 tests.
Ireland have always been hailed as new world beaters but they won six from eight for a 75 per cent win ratio - the same as the All Blacks who played almost twice as many games.
The All Blacks are not quite the side they want to be, but nor are they so far off either. They need a bump, a bit of fresh thinking and innovation to get there and that seems more likely to happen by bringing in Schmidt to work with the existing coaching team rather than going ground zero and starting again with Robertson.