Whatever Roger Tuivasa-Sheck was at the start of his inaugural professional rugby season, he's starting to look now like a probable All Black and maybe even a uniquely brilliant solution to a perennial problem position.
Hyped to high heaven on account of his glittering NRL career, Tuivasa-Sheck came into Super Rugby Pacific with plenty of analysts seemingly convinced that he was predestined to be elevated to the All Blacks on account of both his personal history and that the likes of Brad Thorn and Sonny Bill Williams have shown the value league converts can bring.
But this fevered anticipation about Tuivasa-Sheck's likely immediate impact seemed to forget that it took both Thorn and Williams at least two years, probably longer, to find their feet and get to grips with rugby.
Rarely has any successful league convert – even those like Tuivasa-Sheck who had a junior background playing rugby – jumped across the divide and looked the part in their first professional campaign and the expectation was ambitious to the point of excessive.
His first games for the Blues illustrated both his potential and his vulnerabilities and when he suffered a significant shoulder injury in just his second outing, the odds of him being test-ready by July were long.
But his progress in the last month has been stunning and his performance against the Brumbies has changed everything regarding his test aspirations.
The game in Canberra reflected the importance of victory to both teams: it was frantic, desperate even, and anyone who thinks Australian rugby can't do bruising, smothering rugby should look properly at how physical the Brumbies were and how cleverly and, at times, cynically they closed down the Blues.
It was the toughest, most intense challenge the Blues have faced in 2022 – and the one closest in style and ferocity to emulating a test match.
They had to fight for every metre and no one did that better than Tuivasa-Sheck who produced evidence that he may have brought to rugby a uniquely brilliant and game-changing skillset in much the same way that Williams did 12 years ago with his ability to offload.
In Tuivasa-Sheck's case, the skill he brings is his preposterously unreadable footwork which enables him to seemingly shift his body weight in mid-air and find a means to always get himself over the gainline.
Rugby has seen players with great footwork before: Nehe Milner-Skudder and Sevu Reece spring most readily to mind, but Tuivasa-Sheck is next level and what sets him apart is that he's combining this freakish agility with a smart rugby brain and a robust physicality to successfully operate in the most congested part of the field.
No matter how hard and fast the Brumbies brought up their defensive line, Tuivasa-Sheck was able to skip, bump and twist past that first tackler and what would have also caught the eye of the All Blacks selectors was his appetite to be involved.
The more the pressure came on the Blues, the more Tuivasa-Sheck wanted the ball and that spoke volumes about both his character and confidence, while his accuracy in execution and decision-making alluded to him being in possession of a clear head and inner calm.
Looking back to how Tuivasa-Sheck played in his first few games compared with his effort in Canberra, it's apparent he's ingrained with the professionalism to review and refine so he doesn't make the same mistake twice.
And this all now makes for an intriguing selection scenario as the All Blacks have been charting Tuivasa-Sheck's progress and will be wondering if he's ready to add something to their set-up.
Quinn Tupaea is arguably New Zealand's form second-five, offering a big frame, impressive acceleration and a capacity to hit the ball hard on a good line and target a weak shoulder.
It's the formula that rugby's best midfield hitmen have been using for decades and with his bruising defence and growing maturity about when to use his deft offloading game, Tupaea may be the front-runner to wear No 12 in the first test against Ireland.
Jack Goodhue has made an impressive return after missing most of last year with a serious knee injury, and his experience in the test arena, astute distribution, work rate and comfort with both midfield roles will always be attractive to the national side.
But Tuivasa-Sheck is offering a non-traditional skillset that seems now to offer more possibilities than it does risks.
He may not quite be ready for test football, but his capacity to learn quickly creates this sense that it would be wise to invest him in now, slowly build his international game time through the season and by next year, with another Super Rugby campaign under his belt, the All Blacks will have an exceptional and uniquely gifted No 12 in their midst.