The contest to succeed Kieran Read as All Blacks captain has been portrayed as a two-horse race when it never really was.
Not the way everyone thinks - that All Blacks coach Ian Foster was in a pickle for months trying to determine whether to pick Sam Cane or Sam Whitelock as captain.
This wasn't an agonising choice and Whitelock was most likely only ever used as a comparative to provide Foster with reassurances that Cane was the right man to back.
The big giveaway that this decision never went to the wire is that Cane was told of his promotion in February. Foster didn't need to wait to see how Super Rugby played out.
• Rugby: Super Rugby Aotearoa set for June kick-off
• Rugby: Rugby Australia advised to ditch focus on Super Rugby
• What alert level 2 means for club and school sports leagues
• Rugby: The world's 15 highest paid players
His mind was already made up when the season kicked off and in all probability, Foster knew before the end of last year's World Cup that should he land the top job, he'd be picking Cane as his captain.
It was in that last week of the World Cup that Cane hammered home his credentials as the heir apparent to Read.
Not everyone saw it that way. In fact, most wrongly believed that Whitelock all but secured the job in Japan, not necessarily because he surged, but because Cane was deemed to have regressed.
But those last seven days of the tournament delivered a fast-moving plot and an unexpected twist, which was that the decision to drop Cane for the semi-final against England sent his career on an upward rather downward trajectory.
Being dropped didn't condemn Cane to the uncertain test future many said it did as what became clear in the 19-7 loss to England was that the All Blacks made a mistake in not picking him to start.
Strangely, throughout Cane's career there have been plenty who have seemingly been confused about what he brings to test football.
They watch him make crunching, dominant tackles on the gainline, pick off a few critical turnovers and carry hard into those heavily populated areas where only the bravest and strongest can actually advance.
They see all that and then they say they don't get what Cane is all about as if test football is some mystical enigma, that plays out to unpredictable whims.
For those who seemingly can't interpret the simple and relentless pictures test football paints – it is governed primarily by the impact of the endless collisions.
Not everyone loves that fact. Not everyone celebrates the lack of space on the field and the way defensive lines can dominate so easily and stifle creativity, but nonetheless, physicality is the essence of test rugby.
It takes considerable volumes of successful collisions to generate momentum and those with an appetite for destruction and a proven aptitude in successfully throwing themselves about with the required force and technique, are among rugby's most prized assets.
Cane is arguably New Zealand's most resilient and effective collision player. He has an indefatigable warrior spirit, an almost obsessive need to be in the maelstrom and that desire of itself makes him the most compelling candidate to captain the All Blacks in this age of incessant brutality.
The All Blacks always offer a mix of skills and attributes and could never be defined as one-dimensional. But at their core must be a stiff iron rod, an almost deranged passion for the raw combat of the sport and it's the captain who must be the flag bearer if the All Blacks are to compete at rugby's most vertiginous peaks.
Perhaps, now months have elapsed since that difficult night in Yokohama, the All Blacks selectors will admit they failed to respect the value of physicality as defined by winning collisions. And too late, they realised the mistake they had made in not picking Cane to start the game.
Had Cane started, possibly, the All Blacks would have had greater physical presence that night: not just in what he brought, but also in the way he would have lifted those around him to drive harder into the wall of white shirts.
It was an aberration. For eight years head coach Steve Hansen had physicality at the core of his thinking and then come that test against England, he wanted to shift the battleground to the air by picking Scott Barrett to go after England's lineout.
It was just one mistake, one lapse in judgement, but it cost the All Blacks dearly. It wasn't solely responsible for the loss, but was certainly a contributing factor in why they were beaten up across the field and while the short term outcome was the destruction of their World Cup dream, the longer term impact was Cane soaring past Whitelock as the next captain.