Hopefully someone is acquainting embattled All Blacks skipper Sam Cane with the ancient saying: The turtle shouldn't quarrel with the lake.
In other words, don't bite the hand that feeds you – pretty much what Cane did when he complained of some "brutal" Kiwi rugby fans he felt didn't know much about the game.
Cane is understandably miffed with the backlash after twin losses to Australia and Argentina. He played well in both tests and his courage, energy, phenomenal work and tackling rate are a sign of a captain leading from the front; we know his words came from a well of wounded pride.
But mature leaders don't get prickly-defensive. They swallow the pain and the insults and ensure their team does it better next time – and Cane's words will only have convinced those who didn't think he was the best choice as captain that they were right in the first place.
It's hard to win people round if you tell them their opinion doesn't matter. He's right in that most of us do not know as much about rugby as he does. It's just that telling us that diminishes him too.
I can remember former All Black captain Tana Umaga snapping at an interviewer during a low spot in his reign, when he was asked if fans' unreasonable expectations were too much to bear: "No," Umaga shot back, "it helps us win". Sean Fitzpatrick had similar views and it is impossible to imagine the greatest captain of all, Richie McCaw, ever venturing the opinion that the fans didn't know much about the game (and were therefore, by implication, unimportant).
McCaw is the cross Cane has to bear. He plays in the same position as not only the greatest All Black captain but the greatest No 7. He is captaining a side very much in the shadows of the last lot – who pulled off one of the most impressive campaigns in All Black history.
So it's ridiculous calling for coach Ian Foster's head now. It's early days and Foster is doing what he should in this weirdo rugby season: building depth. But the idea is that you don't lose while you're doing it; that tends to shorten careers.
Now we have an All Blacks coaching and playing unit whose abilities in three key areas are being vigorously (and deservedly) questioned: selection, discipline and decision-making (lack of a Plan B).
To that you can add a fourth – lateral thinking. England created the blueprint for beating the All Blacks at the 2019 World Cup. Australia employed it this year, closely followed by the Pumas. The All Blacks currently do not seem to know how to combat, to borrow a basketball term, a full-court press, niggle and physical domination.
The loss to the Pumas was occasioned as much by this oddball season as anything. There's been an awful lot said and written about very un-All Black off-field domestic issues, like would they be home for Christmas and new dads missing their babies. This stuff comes home to roost when historic losses are recorded; fans tend to think minds were elsewhere and that All Blacks should be immune to such distractions.
The All Blacks turned up psychologically undercooked, probably subconsciously believing they would beat Argentina, who'd had precious little rugby in preparation. Faced with much more social and domestic deprivation than the All Blacks, the Pumas found the fire that burns from being the forgotten partner of a disintegrating rugby alliance, making their point by rising to one big occasion.
However, it reflects poorly on coach and captain that the All Blacks – supposed to be entering a new phase of physicality – were out-muscled twice in a row and lost their discipline while it happened. When Foster chooses his next team, it will be interesting to see the fate of face-slappers Dane Coles (who'll be 36 at the next World Cup) and Shannon Frizell.
Coles is under threat from youth; Frizell from Hoskins Sotutu and Akira Ioane. In the midfield, Sonny Bill Williams has never been replaced as an offloading power player – though Ngani Laumape looked underdone in his hit-out and maybe Peter Umaga-Jensen can get more game time soon.
If they persist in selecting Jordie Barrett on the wing, they persist in blunting the attack so efficiently repelled by England, Australia and Argentina. More power athletes like Caleb Clarke are needed, particularly at wing, midfield and loose forward to go with more physical application from the pack and at the breakdown. Shift Jordie to fullback, where he belongs, and Beauden Barrett to the bench, ready to come on in the last quarter and create havoc – or earlier, if required. Come up with plays to overcome defensive strangleholds.
I'm conscious, in proposing this, that I may be entering the Cane category of critics who don't know as much as he does. But you don't have to put your hand in a shark's mouth to know it has sharp teeth – and what about Kenneth Tynan?
Tynan, one of the fiercest theatre critics who ever lived, was the guy who said a critic was a person who knew the way but didn't know how to drive the car. The thing is, Tynan (with as big an ego as many he critiqued) disproved his own theory by writing Oh Calcutta!, the raunchy stage show which became one of the most successful ever.
And even Tynan, who could be vicious, never told theatregoers they didn't know what they were looking at.