It's quite amazing how perception lodges as reality. Take, for example, this now dead-set fact that the All Blacks lost their attacking edge for much of the last World Cup cycle.
Everyone believes that is true. Everyone seems to nod sagely if it is said that the All Blacks were not the same attacking force between 2016 and 2019 as they had been in the previous World Cup cycle.
The proof is irrefutable apparently. We all saw the All Blacks get tied in knots by the rush defences of England, Ireland and South Africa throughout that period and the imagination was sucked clean out of the likes of Beauden Barrett, Ben Smith and Richie Mo'unga in the big games.
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It was a period, supposedly, where defences came out on top and the All Blacks, after years of invention were suddenly looking a little short of ideas.
Perception is powerful because the facts paint an entirely different picture and far from there being a decline in the All Blacks' attacking thrust, the last four years have been the greatest attacking period in their history.
If it can be agreed that try scoring is the only true barometer of a team's attacking ability then it can be said that the All Blacks since 2016 have been the most inventive, innovative and clinical team the world has known.
They posted numbers that are off the scale good and may never be repeated. Between 2016 and the last test of this year, the All Blacks scored a staggering 287 tries.
Staggering because no other international side even came close to scoring 200 tries in the same cycle. England were the next prolific, scoring 176, with Ireland on 171, Australia on 164 and South Africa 148.
Wales scored just 120 tries in the same period while France didn't crack the century, falling short with just 99.
The sceptics will see that the real comparison has to be made with previous All Blacks' teams not other international sides. So be it – the figures support the argument just as well.
Between 2012 and 2015 the All Blacks scored 209 tries – meaning there was a near 30 per cent increase in the last World Cup cycle.
Between 2008-2011, the total number was 200 and in the two World Cup cycles before that, the All Blacks respectively scored 219 and 226 tries.
Obviously, again the sceptics, can point to average tries being a fairer comparison given the increased number of tests the All Blacks now play.
And again, we are looking at the 2016-2019 period being the most prolific in history.
The average tries per test between 2016 and 2019 was 5.4. In the 2012 to 2015 cycle it was 3.9, up from 3.6 in the 2008-2011 period. The only comparable period was 2000-2003 when the All Blacks were averaging five tries per test.
If the sceptics and critics want one last roll of the dice, they could ask for a comparison of the All Blacks' respective test playing schedules during these various World Cup cycles to be made.
These bloated, modern fixture lists surely demand the All Blacks play more tests against comparatively weak opposition.
Well, no, they don't. In this World Cup cycle just gone, the All Blacks played five tests against Tier Two opposition.
The bulk of their fixtures were against South Africa and Australia, while there was also a three test series against the British Lions, five tests against Wales and four against Ireland.
In the 2012-2015 cycle, the All Blacks had six tests against Tier Two opposition and the cycle before that it was five tests.
Here's the real crunch point, though: even if the argument is simply that the All Blacks lost their attacking mojo against those teams such as Ireland, England, South Africa and Wales whose game was built almost exclusively on the strength of their rush defence, it's not true.
In four tests against Ireland between 2016 and 2019 the All Blacks scored 14 tries for an average of 3.5 per game. Against South Africa over the same period they scored 39 tries for an average of 4.9 tries per test and against Wales they scored 27 tries for an average of 5.4 per test.
England, as the next most prolific try scoring nation in this World Cup cycle just gone, averaged two tries against Wales.
Against Ireland in Six Nations games they scored nine tries in four tests [they did score six against them in a warm-up game before the World Cup]; and against South Africa they scored 12 tries in six tests for an average of two per game.
The only perception that is true from the last World Cup cycle is that the All Blacks struggled against England. They played them twice and only scored one try in each game.
The reality, however much it may have appeared otherwise at times, is that the All Blacks produced unprecedented quality in their attack game in the last four years.
Far from being broken, it was a golden age for attacking rugby but perception is hard to shift once it has been lodged.