If Akira Ioane has played his way into the All Blacks, he didn't do it emphatically.
He certainly won't have won a majority decision in the court of public opinion after producing a Super Rugby campaign that started better than it ended and at times was a victim of the general indecision and lack of cohesion that defined the Blues' season.
But the All Blacks are not picked by the people and the selectors who do have the responsibility for shaping the national team don't need emphatic evidence to be persuaded about who to include.
Ioane could perhaps have done more to press his claim, but what's important is that the Blues No 8 did enough in Super Rugby to press his claim and it would be more of a surprise if he's not included in the All Blacks' Rugby Championship squad than if he is.
The All Blacks selectors were in Wellington over the weekend watching the Blues play the Hurricanes and while they no doubt had their collective eyes on a number of players, one of their goals would have been to seek affirmation about Ioane.
He's a player who grabbed their interest back in 2015 when he arrived in Super Rugby as an age-grade superstar and made an immediate impact by scoring a spectacular try that displayed all his attacking qualities.
For the past four years, they have been waiting for Ioane to consistently produce more of those moments while upping his work rate and defensive impact.
Ioane has tested their patience in that time. He has frustrated them, disappointed them and at times probably outright angered them, but at no stage has a red line gone through his name.
And that patience has been rewarded. That refusal to give up on Ioane has paid off because while he didn't score a raft of never-to-be-forgotten tries this year, he did provide consistent evidence that with ball in hand, he's probably the most damaging loose forward in New Zealand.
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There wasn't a No 8 in the competition with the same ability to pick from the base of the scrum and accelerate over the gain-line and pull the defence out of shape.
There wasn't another No 8 who operated as effectively as he did on the margins of the field and the art of good selection is to isolate what an individual is doing in one team and imagine how that could be effectively used in another.
The selection panel probably wanted one last chance to watch Ioane with the naked eye to reaffirm a belief they formed as early as April, that he has the attacking prowess to make an impact in a test match.
The question of whether Ioane has shown enough improvement in his work-rate and defensive impact was not so definitively answered in Super Rugby, but again, most importantly, it was answered.
Ioane did enough to suggest he's found the fitness and desire to be more involved in all aspects of the contest.
He didn't disappear out of games the way he has in the past and whenever – which was often – the Blues were camped on their own line, Ioane was in the thick of it.
He's not necessarily a naturally destructive tackler, but his body was put on the line and that's really what the All Blacks selectors needed to see.
So despite the fact the Blues were a horror show in the second half in Wellington, the All Blacks selectors presumably saw enough to solidify their view that the next step with Ioane is to pick him in a test.
And that test is likely to be in Buenos Aries as the All Blacks have said they will try as much as they can to not pick those players involved in the Super Rugby final.
With the Crusaders such a strong prospect of making the final, the All Blacks selectors will already be planning to be without Read for the Argentina game.
Ardie Savea played at No 8 in Argentina last year when Read didn't travel and, depending on how far the Hurricanes make it in Super Rugby, he'll be an option again this year.
But it might be, given the coaches already know exactly what Savea brings, that they take the opportunity to see what Ioane can deliver.
He's by no means the complete player, or in the same mould as Read, but he doesn't have to be to be of value to the All Blacks.
What Ioane has to do, should he play in Argentina, is provide more evidence that he offers an attacking portfolio that is too valuable to ignore.