In the last month, when he was able to string a run of games together and stay in one piece, Sonny Bill Williams proved his durability and with that, likely booked himself a place in the All Blacks World Cup squad.
But harder to determine is what his fate looks like once he gets to Japan and how the All Blacks coaches intend to use him at the World Cup.
There's an alternative universe where this wouldn't be up for debate. It's the universe where he didn't snap his Achilles in August 2016. It's the universe where he didn't fracture his wrist in March 2018, only to return and almost immediately require surgery to remove a floating piece of bone on his troublesome knee.
It's the universe where he didn't damage his shoulder in his first test appearance of 2018, miss most of the Rugby Championship and then damage it again early in the test against England at Twickenham.
It's the universe where he didn't require more knee surgery in April this year and it's the universe where he played more than 40 games in the last four years.
In that universe, Williams would be going to Japan as the All Blacks first choice No 12. There's always been some who love to place a negative slant on Williams, but his talent has always spoken louder than those pre-determined to see whatever unfounded nonsense they want to see in him.
If fate had been kinder and allowed him to play more in the last two years, the conversation wouldn't be happening. There would be no dispute – Williams would be the hands down winner on who to play at No 12 at the World Cup.
But of course fate wasn't kind and in the universe in which we all exist, Williams hasn't been able to deliver enough to say definitively that the No 12 jersey should be his for the big games in Japan.
He played well at Eden Park and provided a timely reminder that in the physical art of getting over the gainline, he's still the best.
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In his many absences, Ngani Laumape has shown he can play the role of a confrontational No 12; that he is capable of smashing into the traffic and driving over the gainline.
But it's debatable whether Laumape would have scored the try that Williams did last week when he picked the perfect line close to a ruck, hit the ball at full pace and managed to keep control of it as he stretched to touch down.
Even if it is deemed honours even on the ball carrying stakes between the two, Williams wins out with his defence being that bit more explosive and his wider contribution being that bit more impactful.
Williams is never going to be one to slip easily into the first receiver role, but his rugby insight is good: his intelligence high and ability to guide and advise the decision-makers under-rated.
These are arguments, though, that can be used to win him a place in the squad ahead of Laumape rather than a starting role because the competition for that No 12 jersey would appear not to be with Laumape, but Anton Lienert-Brown.
If the All Blacks are truly wedded to their best players on the park philosophy then Lienert-Brown has made one of the more compelling cases to be included from the start.
He's brought an unorthodox mix of footwork, vision, speed and awareness to the test arena this year, all combined with an increased physicality.
He does things his way and it works and while he may not be a specialist No 12 as such, and while he may have previously looked a more natural bench player than starter for the All Blacks, right now he is the form second-five.
Actually, he's the form midfield back and the argument to play him from the start is that he's making things happen – he's simply an outstanding footballing talent that facilitates the All Blacks' attack in any number of different ways.
And if the All Blacks coaches concluded a few weeks ago that Ardie Savea was too good to restrict to just 30 minutes or so off the bench, then Lienert-Brown has presumably made an equally strong case to say that he too can't be confined to a cameo role at the World Cup.
Based on what the All Blacks have delivered in 2019, the go-to midfield combination would have to be Lienert-Brown and Jack Goodhue, with Williams waiting to be unleashed from the bench.
He's entirely familiar with this role, as it has been the one he has been assigned at previous World Cups.
He could be heading for a third tournament where he's used heavily in the pool rounds to absorb some of the physical toll that comes as part of the midfield brief, and then given a place on the bench in the knockout games.
His true value to the team, though, is that he won't spend any time trying to work out whether a third tournament in such a role is a sign of career stagnation or even regression.
He won't question whether the coaches got it right because he never does. He won't feel sorry for himself because he never does.
He won't fear for his ego, because he never has and it's that ability to be a selfless team man that provides one last reason to see him as the perfect man to have on the bench.