There's long been an assumption that Dane Coles didn't make it on to the All Blacks' radar in his first years as a professional because back then he didn't have the size to be an international hooker.
Coles was mobile, he was quick, he was tough and even in his first years with the Hurricanes where he mostly played off the bench behind test veteran Andrew Hore, it was obvious he had the range of skills the All Blacks wanted.
But at just 100kg, Coles looked like a twig in a game where everyone else was a branch and it was only when he built himself up to a more robust and sustainable 108kg that he became an All Blacks regular.
So the assumption was made that it was his lack of size that delayed his entry into the test fold – that he would have been picked earlier than 2012 had he been bigger in his early 20s.
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That's only half the story, though. If that. The bigger impediment was his lack of discipline – the inability to control and use his natural aggression effectively.
The selectors saw a young player with incredible potential, but also with a self-destruct button that was too prone to being pushed.
There was so much to like, so much to be excited by but so too was there a sense that Coles didn't have the requisite self-control.
There was too much red mist in his early years. Physicality lacked definition in his mind. Was there really a difference between a well-timed tackle that drove a ball carrier behind the gainline and a bit of push and shove to get in an opponent's face after the whistle had been blown?
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The point, as he understood it, was that both acts were designed to gain domination. Both were physical confrontations that could help assert control of the game.
It was only when Coles learned to see the difference between the two that he became an All Black. When he showed a greater degree of control with his aggression he became a better player.
And for a period between 2014 and 2016 he became a great player. Coles used his natural combativeness to dominate opponents.
He was aggressive, but disciplined. He was physical, but not wild. There was an edge to him but he recognised the difference between legal and illegal and for those three years, he was the undisputed best hooker in the world.
He's been plagued by injury since 2017 and there will be those who say that the damage he has incurred and his age will combine now to prevent him from becoming the player he was in his golden period.
Maybe, but just as his lack of size wasn't the real problem in his earlier career, the impact of injury and miles on his clock are not the roadblock to greatness now.
A lack of discipline has resurfaced and Coles has regressed, lost sight of what constitutes effective physicality and what is ill-disciplined aggression that endangers his team.
Against the Sharks last week he was fortunate not to have been yellow carded, or even sent off, for diving into Sanele Nohamba who was on the ground at the time.
Social media can't decide whether it was cheap or reckless, but the label doesn't matter – it was ill-disciplined and a failure to impose himself in the way the All Blacks' coaching team want.
And what will be of particular concern is that there were signs last year that the old problem was resurfacing within Coles.
Against Australia at Eden Park, after the All Blacks had been hammered the week before in Perth where Scott Barrett had been red carded, the need for control and discipline was emphasised in the build-up.
Yet 10 minutes before half-time, Coles was sin-binned for a judo throw on Wallabies halfback Nic White off the ball.
"How disappointed?," said All Blacks coach Steve Hansen when asked about Coles' act. "Very. We'll deal with that behind closed doors and move on. It's a constant work-on for Colesy and it's a good reminder for him.
"You're going to get moments when he does something you'd classify as dumb."
Coles is a ferocious competitor which is an incredible quality that his teams want to harness.
He has an intensity of desire that few can match. He's never needed help to get himself mentally aroused, but he has needed help to stop himself becoming overly aroused and it would seem he needs that help now.