Following the Crusaders' thrilling clash with the Blues on Saturday night in Super Rugby Aotearoa, Gregor Paul analyses the Beauden Barrett v Richie Mo'unga All Blacks debate - and writes that the decision is obvious.
It is time for all of New Zealand to realise just how good Richie Mo'unga is. At the moment he's the best first-five in the country and whether the All Blacks persist with their dual playmaker strategy or not, Mo'unga has to be wearing No 10.
Beauden Barrett is the better rugby player - equipped with more skills and weapons to strike an effective attack, but Mo'unga is the better specialist No 10.
If that wasn't definitive coming into Super Rugby Aotearoa post lockdown, it is now after Mo'unga did the hardest thing in rugby by putting a forgettable 40 minutes behind him against the Blues to somehow find a way to win his team the toughest contest they have had in years.
No one should underestimate the resilience and mental capacity Mo'unga showed to glue himself together in Christchurch, patch up the psychological crack that was threatening to split him open and produce a brave, innovative and frankly brilliant final quarter to ensure the Crusaders stretched their unbeaten run at home to 36th games.
He plays in a position that is all about self-belief and confidence and temperament is everything when it comes to a No 10.
Dan Carter is the greatest New Zealand has ever produced and while he had a vast range of skills, it was his composure and refusal to ever panic or doubt himself that set him apart.
And Mo'unga seems to have that same gift: that same unflappable nature which doesn't allow mistakes to eat him up or get inside his head.
It's a treasured skill to possess and so few have it naturally and not many learn to develop it either.
Plenty of young No 10s have made a few mistakes in big games and fallen apart. The first test Aaron Cruden started in 2010 he kicked the ball out on the full, made a few more mistakes and was subbed long before the end and not then initially picked in the World Cup squad.
Barrett also suffered a memorable meltdown in the 2015 Super Rugby final, failing to deliver the sort of magic against the Highlanders which he had produced all year.
His demons engulfed him in Wellington five years ago and that disappointment was the making of him as a world-class No 10.
He returned in 2016 mentally tougher and his performances in the three playoff games were tactically smart, technically immaculate and about the most composed, polished rugby he's ever produced.
Mo'unga has steered the Crusaders to three successive titles and played at a World Cup, making it seem a little strange to suggest that a mid-season encounter against the Blues is the moment he came of age.
But never before has he so obviously found a way to respond and react so effectively under pressure. He won that game for the Crusaders and with it, they have just about secured the title.
It was almost a final and for 50 or so minutes, the Blues were threatening to win it. They had the game where they wanted it after Rieko Ioane scored his try and the only hope the Crusaders had was if they could find a hero, a means by which someone could do something extraordinary and wrestle back the momentum.
It was Mo'unga who stood up and did just that. And what made it so much braver was that a few things in the first half had enormous potential to undermine his confidence and see him crawl into a conservative mindset and stop trusting himself to play his natural game.
He kicked an easy penalty into the dead ball area, squandering a golden opportunity to set-up for a short-range lineout drive.
Mo'unga kicked a couple of times when he had men screaming outside him to keep it in hand and there were two wild inside passes to no one.
He looked like the occasion was getting to him. That the mistakes were compounding and eroding his confidence and then suddenly he took control, pulling off the nearly impossible act of retrieving his own short kick-off and then delaying beautifully his perfect pass to put Will Jordan over for the critical try.
Cantabrians have known for a few years now what a special talent the Crusaders No 10 is but the rest of the country hasn't been quite as sure.
But he came of age on Saturday night and ended any lingering debate about who should be wearing the All Blacks No 10 jersey this year.