Aspiring All Blacks head coach Ian Foster must know that he's behind in the polls. And he must know that the court of public opinion has him pegged as a probable dud and unpopular choice.
What he won't be so sure of is how much he should be worried about this.
The process to win the All Blacks head coaching job is not democratic: the people don't get to vote him in or out.
But he is applying to be the head coach of the people's team and he, like everyone else, can't be sure how much weight the four-person panel with responsibility for the appointment will place on public sentiment.
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The unknown in this process is whether the voice of the fans will be heard. When the panel come to make their choice, will their decision reflect the mood of the nation?
Will they take the view that they are there to give the people what they want or will they see that their role is to determine what it is the people actually need?
It may be that it is this very question that has to be asked as the means to separate two candidates who otherwise are likely to present as equally compelling.
Potentially, this makes Scott Robertson the favourite as the majority of public support sits with him, not just because he's curiously different and seemingly blessed with the magic touch of knowing how to create winning teams, but also because he represents change.
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New Zealand's rugby following public have seemingly reached the point where they would rather the devil they don't know.
It's not a mood borne of anger or frustration at the way the All Blacks World Cup campaign ended.
The angry mob is not on the streets baying for blood with pitchforks thrusting. This is a velvet revolution, borne by a sense that a great era has reached its natural end and the cycle needs to begin afresh.
Steve Hansen had a great run. The All Blacks have enjoyed an unprecedented decade of success but now that Hansen's reign has come to an end, it feels like a tacit consensus has been reached that it would be best to raise a glass to him and his wider coaching team and for the All Blacks to start afresh with someone else and a whole new regime.
Robertson would represent that step change and be the easier, more popular choice.
He's comparatively young. As a former, relatively recent coach of the New Zealand Under 20s, he's had a good old look at the emerging talent pipeline and he's been hands-on with a generation that posts first, thinks later.
He would be the fresh, new face the majority now feel the All Blacks need.
But there's perhaps another, darker element behind this desire for change, which is that Foster is unloved by the rugby public.
It is hard to decipher whether Robertson is the people's favourite on the back of his obvious potential or because he's in a two-horse race where the prevailing view is "anyone but Foster".
Again, this is a big question for the panel to answer as to foist upon the fan base a head coach they genuinely feel opposed to, is dangerous.
Support for the All Blacks is not unconditional. That became clear in 2009 when there were thousands of empty seats in Christchurch when the All Blacks played Italy.
Inhabitants of the Garden City were enraged that their man, Robbie Deans, had been passed over for Graham Henry.
Anti-All Blacks sentiment was stronger than it had been for any time since the dark patch of 1998 when five consecutive tests had been lost.
Henry, a man everyone in Christchurch saw as the epitome of Auckland, was back in a job from which they felt he should have been ousted in the wake of the 2007 World Cup disaster.
He was not the people's choice and the people, already feeling the impact of the Global Financial Crisis, voted with their feet and New Zealand Rugby posted a staggering near $16 million loss that year.
The wounds were only healed in the last minutes of the 2011World Cup semifinal when the universally admired Brad Thorn urged the Eden Park crowd to lift the noise.
That was the moment a nation became whole again in a rugby sense – everyone united in their support of Henry's All Blacks against Deans' Wallabies.
It took four years and a World Cup victory to bring back the love: to ensure stadiums were full and balance sheets black not red and it's not moot given where things currently sit in regard to the next coaching appointment, to ponder what might have happened had France teased out a late score in the 2011 World Cup final.
Again, this potential fear of a public backlash may steer the panel towards Robertson. There is an alternative way for the panel to see this, though.
Henry is leading the appointment panel and while he won everyone round in the end, there were times when he must have wondered whether he ever would and why he was bothering to try such was the opprobrium.
But he also knows that success can bring redemption and redemption forgiveness and while the journey there was lonely, long and turbulent, he would say it was ultimately worth it.
His reappointment in 2008 damaged New Zealand in the short-term but led to unknown riches and success in the longer term, hence proving that a case can always be made for not going with the popular choice.
What also has to be considered is the legitimacy and strength of the anti-Foster sentiment. Why exactly does he not have the popular vote?
It would seem that his mediocre record at the Chiefs between 2004 and 2011 is the reason he has few supporters to be the next All Blacks coach.
Which is hardly an insurmountable obstacle. Henry fought his way back into the public bosom as it were from the nearly impossible position of being the man who steered the All Blacks to their worst World Cup finish after their most expensive and privileged campaign.
His unpopularity wasn't built solely on the fact the All Blacks lost in the 2007 World Cup quarter-final, it was because he had been allowed to arbitrarily decimate Super Rugby that year with the flawed conditioning programme and to do so without consultation.
There was a definite sense of Henry and NZR being out of control back then, free to unilaterally make decisions for which they were never fully held accountable.
The public outrage was deep enough to never be certain that he would ever win back trust, confidence and respect no matter how well the All Blacks played or how often they won.
Foster, by way of comparison, has just a light cloud of aspersion hanging over him from his Super Rugby days and attitudes towards him will quickly change if he delivers results as All Blacks coach.
He's not hugely popular now but he could easily be in 10 months if the All Blacks are cruising through the Rugby Championship.
Robertson may be what the people want and he could also be what they need. Foster can't say the former, not right now, but that doesn't mean his campaign is doomed.
He may be just what the All Blacks need.