Somehow New Zealand Rugby has resisted what many said was inevitable and continued to say, with the occasional exception, no to allowing overseas-based players to be eligible for the All Blacks.
It's an issue that surfaced at the dawn of the professional age and one that has never gone away given the constant offshore flow of New Zealand players, many still in their prime.
New Zealand has been under siege for almost 30 years now, ever greater number of foreign predators with ever bigger budgets, trawling their nets across all levels of the game, happy to take teenagers just out of school, emerging provincial talent or big-name All Blacks.
There is more money everywhere else and the odds are stacked against a small island in the South Pacific being able to persuade its young inhabitants that it has the same exoticism as the great European capitals of the world.
Given the seeming hopelessness of trying to retain talent, many have argued that it would be best to raise the white flag and change the criteria to allow those playing their club rugby outside of New Zealand to be eligible for All Blacks selection.
After all, the Springboks have done just this and they are world champions. These days the Boks tend to have more players at overseas clubs than they do domestically based – a symptom of the country's weak currency, uncertain economy and political volatility.
Australia have also slid open the door to those who leave – with the option open to pick those playing offshore if they have 60 Wallabies caps or more.
Their coach also has the discretion to pick two additional overseas-based players who don't meet that criteria, which is why Samu Kerevi will be joining the squad once he has finished his post-Olympic stint in quarantine.
New Zealand, though, despite the pressure and despite seeing its Sanzaar partners succumb to it, has remained staunchly opposed, arguing that change would destroy the domestic game and with it, the All Blacks.
And if ever there was a single, definitive case study to highlight the difficulties and dangers of selecting offshore All Blacks, it is the plight of Beauden Barrett – one of the exempted players granted permission to be picked directly from offshore - as he tries to integrate after a club season in Japan.
Barrett, who skipped Super Rugby this year to instead play for Suntory in Japan, has struggled on his return, probably more than either he or the All Blacks coaching team anticipated.
Neither Barrett nor All Blacks coach Ian Foster were kidding themselves about how hard it would be to jump from a club season in Japan straight into test football.
They knew it would take time for Barrett to regain the sharpness – not of body, but of mind, of micro-skill application and anticipation – to rebuild the confidence and flow that he would need to be his usual influential self in the test arena.
The Pasifika Series was the ideal vehicle to steadily drive Barrett back to his best – to give him time off the bench and one start as well as three weeks of intense training – and have him acclimatised in time for the Bledisloe Cup.
But like most construction projections, operation Barrett Rebuild has fallen behind schedule as he still hasn't shown any sense of being the brilliant, game-changing force he can be.
He came off the bench against Tonga with an eagerness and energy which wasn't matched by his accuracy or decision-making.
In his one start against Fiji, an accidental boot to his eyelid affected his confidence and willingness to run at the line, while his cameo off the bench at Eden Park in Bledisloe One produced nothing memorable other than having a clearance kick charged down.
The wait continues for the real Barrett to emerge – the one that can taunt and destroy any defence, and that sees opportunity in every situation and has the confidence and sharpness of skillset to back himself to pull off the impossible.
There's no reason to doubt the probability of his re-emergence: Barrett will bounce back because brilliant players always do.
But the timeline around that is guesswork. Maybe he'll fire up at Eden Park this weekend – have a few things go his way, regain his confidence and suddenly be flying past defenders again.
Or maybe it will be a slow, steady process of him test by test, adjusting to the speed and intensity.
Whatever happens, what is indisputable right now is that Super Rugby, for all its faults and madness over the years, remains the best competition in which to prepare All Blacks.
It comes with a speed and intensity that players here need to experience to ready themselves for test football and NZR is absolutely right to hold its unwavering stance of not allowing offshore based players to be eligible for the All Blacks.