Look no further than the provinces to understand why New Zealand rugby remains head of the pack.
What other third tier competition - effectively what the Mitre 10 Cup has become - sees finishers the quality of Nehe Milner-Skudder and Julian Savea oppose each other?
How good was it to see the likes of Tawera Kerr-Barlow have such immediate influence for his union?
And yet even without these headline acts, the level of consistent skill almost across the board has been captivating already this season.
Sure, some of the defending isn't always of Super Rugby standard but when you witness frequent attacking breakouts and tries, there are no complaints from this end.
Take Waikato's first against Tasman, sparked by Zac Guildford and Sevu Reece and finished after an audacious flick ball to prop Loni Uhila on the wing. Wow.
Are you not entertained?
It is this brand of rugby, and the quest to use the ball at pace, as much as the talent on display that should be savoured. Just as the All Blacks use big men passing to big men in the midfield so, too, do our provinces.
How good is it to witness revivals of teams such as Northland, who with two wins have doubled their tally from last year, and North Harbour. They were both whipping boys for so long. Now, they demand respect.
Watch the reaction of veteran halfback Chris Smylie after Harbour's remarkable 57-10 win in the Battle of the Bridge to appreciate what it means. He is one who endured the dark days when Harbour won four games in three seasons from 2011-13, and though now playing a support act to Bryn Hall is clearly enjoying the ride.
What a difference a coach can make. So often we credit players for success and bag coaches when results don't come. But it is no coincidence the early efforts of Chris Gibbes with Wellington and Derren Witcombe's return to Northland have coincided with form transformations.
With Wellington up by 20 points against Bay of Plenty, Gibbes did not get close to cracking a smile in the coaching box. His chewing gum continued to take a pounding. That hardened edge has been reflected by the attitude of his men.
Of course, not everyone is loving life. Auckland's start is nothing short of embarrassing. And they have no excuses. Conceding the most points ever against Harbour on a balmy Father's Day afternoon confirmed the once powerhouse union is on a serious slide after finishing fifth last year.
Former All Blacks in the backline are playing as individuals. Auckland's scrum has been consistently overpowered; attitude and body language seem poor and they look devoid of general direction. Unless some rapid shifts are made under Nick White, relegation is a real possibility and, at this rate, would be fully deserved. Jerome Kaino's return looks like a punishment.
Elsewhere we have seen upsets and countless changes of leads. This year's competition appears so even that a strong argument could be made to do away with the Premiership/Championship system.
Pick a definitive winner between Counties Manukau and Harbour, or Northland and Waikato, this week and you are a better tipster than I.
Canterbury remains clear title favourites but Otago proved with the magic of the Ranfurly Shield, anything is possible.
In many ways the provinces represent the last bastion of true New Zealand rugby tribalism.
Franchise contracting rendered Super Rugby a recruitment business. Provincial rugby retains large elements of homegrown players - many of whom progress or at least affiliate with a club team which allows locals to genuinely identify with them.
In dynamic Wellington hooker Asafo Aumua, abrasive Canterbury lock Mitchell Dunshea and Manawatu prop Michael Alaalatoa the next crop continues to emerge, as it does every year.
Blake Gibson's elevation to provide cover for the All Blacks this week is proof of the promotion chain.
At the other end of the spectrum Mike Delaney's homecoming to Bay of Plenty shows the mutual value of returning to your roots.
Provincial rugby is in good health - possibly more so than ever since Super Rugby robbed it of regular All Blacks.