One sided games at the Rugby World Cup that only sadists and masochists could love are a reminder that rugby in the last 50 years has managed to bring just two new teams, Italy and Argentina, into the big league of five northern and three southern hemisphere sides, and the Pumas and Italy still often look like rookies.
So bravo to Uruguay for beating what seemed a casual, over confident Fijian side, 30-27, but it was still the length of Route 66 away from an upset on the scale of the Japanese victory over South Africa at the last Cup.
With centre stage providing little substance, there was plenty of time to pay attention to sideshow alley, and there was a lot to see there.
Let's start with high tackling.
The fact is the philosophy of defensive work has changed. In the misty dream time of amateur test rugby, coaches only applauded tackles that saw the tackler's head behind the knees of his opponent, the shoulder driving into the legs, and the runner with the ball hitting the ground. High tackles were a rarity, and generally frowned on.
But as All Black flanker Sam Cane, a man with impeccable, legal, tackling technique, explained to me last year, "what we want to do is ... if I'm making a side on tackle on you, you're going to get to the gain line. But I can be frontal, and stop you where I hit you, or push you back, that's ideal.
"Then, if two of us are trying to tackle you the idea is that one will go low, and the other one will go high. If I make a good chop (low) tackle on you, that allows my mate to drive you back from the top, or get on the ball."
So for part of Wallaby wing Reece Hodge's defence against his dangerous tackle charge to be that, basically, he didn't know the rules around high tackles, was at best naive, at worst stunningly disingenuous.
This is someone who trains for and plays rugby for a living. The judiciary reported, in a weirdly punctuated statement, that "the player conceded that he had no effective knowledge of World Rugby's 'Decision making framework for high tackles'; had not been trained on it; (and) was across it because the tackles he makes are predominantly in the waist to knees area (to the Panel this was of some general concern…)".
Michaela Blyde: Why I wouldn't start SBW at World Cup
Liam Napier: The five ABs cracks exposed by the Boks
Patrick McKendry: The upset that could throw off ABs' plans
The red cards and bans will continue to flow if more players are as genuinely clueless as we're expected to believe Hodge is.
Which also brings us to the second fairground attraction at the Cup, refereeing.
You'd expect World Rugby to bag their own referees at about the same time an Oscar winner says, "I'm not going to cry and thank the director, the producer, my agent, my acting coach, the cast, the crew, my yoga instructor, my family, my therapist, my vegan dietician, the trainer of my support llama, and God, because actually I'm just a pretty face who parrots lines someone else writes for me".
But World Rugby did, in effect, eat their own young, criticising the referees they had hand picked themselves.
Sadly though it seemed the refs were being specifically reproached for what is one of the greatest blights on the game, the offside line at breakdowns.
Yes, it's forever a worry that, especially in the wake of the Reece citing, a crucial player could be lost in a tight game because a referee wants to please his masters.
However, for the sake of a team that wants to win by using their backline (read, the All Blacks), allowing defensive lines to creep further and further forward as a match wears on is not only outside the letter of the law, but spits on the spirit of it too.
I'd put up with a spate of early offside penalties for the sake of daylight starting to appear between the two teams when the ball is cleared.
It's a little disconcerting that the statement by World Rugby after the first round of games was couched in terms only a grey suited, red tape loving, civil service geek could love. "There have been initial challenges with the use of technology and communication and team communication, which have impacted decision-making," was how World Rugby phrased it.
But the head of referees at the Cup, Alain Rolland, despite his French sounding name, is Irish, so let's devoutly hope he addresses the refs in private in blunter terms. "For God's sake get them all on bloody side," would be a great start.
On a happier note, the Yin and Yang commentary team of Scotty Stevenson and Stephen Donald has been excellent.
They're operating in a field where almost every viewer is a self appointed expert. In the days when Keith Quinn was the king of the callers I could guarantee that if I asked for questions at a rugby club, the first or second would be along the lines of "what do you think of Keith Quinn"? I'd ask what the questioner thought of him. The replies were usually too scatological to repeat now in a family newspaper.
Quinn was actually very, very good, but I discovered that to some rugby fans, if he made one remark in a season that offended them, that was enough to condemn him forever.
Stevenson is an exuberant commentator, which is fine, but if Donald was as lively there's a chance listening to them would be more exhausting then informative. But 2011 World Cup hero Donald stays as cool in the commentary box as he did at Eden Park when he kicked the winning goal against France.
Laconic to the bone, Donald also has the ability to distil his analysis to a few well chosen sentences. He presents as the sort of likeable, low key, well informed guy you'd enjoy sitting next to a footy game. I can't think of a better skill set for a comments man.
Meanwhile, down at the candy floss end of the show there's been the traditional bleating about the haka, this time from an Irish writer.
He used the template we've heard for more than a decade, ever since the All Blacks stopped their awful Ngāti Pākehā version, and, from 1987, driven by Buck Shelford, started to put heart and discipline into the challenge. All the Dublin scribbler needed to do was change the date, and the rest, "unfair advantage, boring, overdone, silly dance" garbage had already been written ad nauseum, so would have taken little effort to cut and paste. Comment on the piece doesn't deserve more than a paragraph, so I'll say no more.
Footnote: During the week, Simon Barnett and I talked to Josh Kronfeld, and looked back on the 1995 World Cup when Jonah Lomu exploded onto the world stage. Kronfeld summed up what it was like playing as an openside flanker, running lines to back up Lomu on the wing. "The great thing about Jonah," he said, "was that I had an idea where he was going to go, and that was usually straight through the guy he was up against. The great thing about Jonah was that we all knew about his size and strength, but he also had the ability to do a small man's game, and with his speed and stepping, it makes for an awesome package. He was the easiest of all the great outside backs I played with to track and follow."
Love your rugby? Click here to subscribe to our new Premium newsletter for extensive Rugby World Cup coverage.