It's not previously been wise to believe, on the basis of his Super Rugby form, that Akira Ioane is ready to play test football.
He's had promising patches before, looked like he was shaping as a possible loose forward option for the All Blacks, only to fade horribly and be lucky to hold his place at provincial level.
Last year was a classic case in point. By early April he was being viewed as someone the All Blacks would find hard to leave out of their World Cup squad.
But by June he was barely featuring in any game he played for the Blues and when the All Blacks came to name their first squad of the year, coach Steve Hansen provided the most scathing assessment of Ioane.
It was a galling appraisal: one where Hansen's exasperation and disappointment were apparent in equal measure and he basically said Ioane was almost a lost cause.
He didn't call him lazy but the implication was there. He didn't say Ioane was mentally weak but there was no other way to take what Hansen said.
It was a crushing blow for an athlete who had been on the All Blacks' radar since 2015. It was the moment where the shutters seemed to finally come down on his test prospects.
The coaching team had given up on him. The dream was over. His test aspirations were gone.
So it is with some trepidation to now be suggesting that there is more than a glimmer of hope for Ioane that the door that was slammed in his face a year ago, may now be slightly ajar.
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He's not the player he was. He's not the person he was and he's addressed the failings in his game.
Mention Ioane and immediately the feedback focuses on his lack of work rate. He's put some of those concerns to bed this year with the way he's scrapped and battled to stay in the fight.
He's learned the art of getting to his feet quicker. He doesn't loll around on the deck the way he used to after making a tackle.
He's been working harder to get back in place to carry the ball. He used to be involved once in every five phases. Not now. It's now one in every three which is up there with the best and busiest and he does it for 80 minutes.
The lulls are no longer there and his tackling is better, too. More dynamic and impactful as it involves a lot more of his shoulders than it does his arms. Gone is his natural tendency to scrag and haul and instead he is now a knee bender, hitting with his shoulders square to the touchline and a leg drive to boot.
And, not to be overlooked, has been his skill level at the base of the scrum. Ioane has looked moderately comfortable with the ball at his feet.
Hardly perfect, but as good as any other No 8 in the competition and Ian Foster is going to be tempted to see what happens if Ioane is tried out in the test arena.
Tempted but not necessarily committed because as well as Ioane has played, there have been plenty of other loose forwards who have excelled in Super Rugby Aotearoa.
Lachlan Boshier was the best loose forward on show in Hamilton. His work at the tackled ball was world class and he has suddenly stopped looking like a solid Super Rugby player and morphed into a probable All Black.
Boshier has been the best old-school, classic ball fetching openside in the competition. He's one of the few No 7 playing like a No 7, the irony of course being he's not even wearing No 7 for the Chiefs.
He's not likely to be an All Blacks starter but his skillset is such that he's the kind of player they would like on the field in the final quarter when opponents are tiring and vulnerable at the tackled ball if the support cleaners arrive a fraction late.
Ioane's Blues teammate Dalton Papalii is another who is going to be in all the selectors' conversations at the moment.
He wants to be a seven and when he's played there, he's won enough turnovers to say that's his best position. But when he's worn six, he's been a brute on defence and looked like he could be an international blindside.
He's just a good player really, something that can now be said with no reservation or hint of irony when it comes to Ioane.