Whatever angst is brewing about the All Blacks, there's no justification to project it two years forward and see trouble ahead at the next World Cup.
It's abject nonsense to be thinking that time is running out for the All Blacks in regard to their 2023 World Cup ambition. They have two years to come right which is a veritable age in a sport where often seven days can be transformational and one thing history has shown is that a team's form at the mid-point of a World Cup cycle is no accurate guide to what is likely to transpire in another two years.
There is no established or recognised trend to determine where a side should be at this point in the cycle if they are going to be genuine contenders to win a World Cup.
Go back to this point in the last cycle and the winners, South Africa, were in a shocking state.
They lost 57-0 to the All Blacks in Albany and drew twice with the Wallabies to finish third in the Rugby Championship. They ended 2017 by being hammered by Ireland in Dublin and then losing to Wales in Cardiff.
The Boks were broken in every sense, which is why they fired head coach Allister Coetzee and brought in Rassie Erasmus.
From a world ranking of six at the end of 2017, the Boks stormed back to be world champions in 2019.
New Zealand didn't quite storm back in the same way between 2009 and 2011, but they did transform mid-way through that cycle.
They started to fix things towards the end of 2009 but there was no way the All Blacks looked like potential 2011 World Cup winners two years out from the tournament.
On the flip side, by the end of 2005, the All Blacks were being told by the world's media that they were going to cruise to World Cup glory in 2007.
But, of course, they bombed out in the quarter-final of that tournament, just as the Irish elevated themselves to tournament favourites in November 2018, only to also be despatched in the quarter-finals of the 2019 tournament.
What to look for at this stage of this cycle is the growth potential of a team and to ask which nations can keep getting better with their current players and coaching staff and who might already have peaked or has built too much of their game around older players who may not have enough left to make it to 2023?
New Zealand, if they are prepared to inject some fresh strategic thinking into their current set-up and be brave enough to drop a few big names if they don't perform next year, are a grower.
Their key personnel of Brodie Retallick, Sam Cane, Ardie Saavea, Aaron Smith, Beauden Barrett, Rieko Ioane and Will Jordan are all going to make it to France.
They have time to discover a No 6 and in Ethan de Groot and Samisoni Taukei'aho they have two dynamic, ball-running front-rowers to give them the impact they are missing.
They also have ample time to find a No 12 and settle on a midfield combination and reinvent their attacking patterns to be more effective against the best sides given that next year they will play Ireland three times, South Africa twice, England, Scotland, Wales and maybe also France.
No matter what Kiwi fans may currently believe, the All Blacks are likely to develop into one of the favourites to win the next World Cup.
The other strong contender will be France, who are certainly a growth team. Their key players are young, but with a body of experience behind them already and they might be a near-perfect mix of fresh legs and older heads by 2023.
England, who brought in a raft of new, younger players in November, look like they are another growth side: a team that will be better in two years than they are now.
Their new first-five Marcus Smith looks composed and creative and they have retained enough of their 2019 group who lost in the final to have genuine hurt in the system which can be a powerful fuel.
Scotland and Australia, who both sit just outside the top tier at the moment, are potentially growth sides if they can enjoy a period of selection stability and play with a touch more composure at critical times.
The two who may not be growth sides are South Africa and Ireland. The Boks are unlikely to freshen their personnel much between now and the tournament and are even less likely to evolve their gameplan and they may arrive in France no longer able to spook so many teams with their rush defence and high kicks.
Ireland are trickier to assess. How much is their current game built on the veteran Johnny Sexton and how much pressure will they put on themselves to finally succeed at a World Cup having blown up early at the last four?
They could have more to come, but they may have played the best game they are going to play this cycle in beating the All Blacks.