Nobody in rugby has ever angered me as much as French referee Romain Poite.
Four years ago at Eden Park, he made the most patently absurd decision I've ever seen in a test match when he changed his mind about a penalty that would have almost certainly seen the All Blacks win the game, and therefore the series, against the Lions.
The law book was clear. From a mid-air collision between Sam Warburton and Kieran Read the ball had bounced forward, and for a split second reserve Lions' hooker, Ken Owens, in an offside position, grabbed it.
In horror, he dropped the ball as if it was radioactive. Owens, a hugely experienced player, knew he'd blown the test. Poite blew for the blindingly obvious penalty.
Then a discussion started between Poite and his assistant on-field referee, Jerome Garces, or, as I've come to think of them, Tweedledum and Tweedledumber. Poite changed his decision, to an All Black scrum.
At the time, sitting on the press bench, I confess I swore loudly. I couldn't resist sneering in print at Poite and his buddy Garces, jeering that they'd been the "stars of the side-splitting French farce Oops A Daisy, He Was Offside But Let's Only Have A Scrum Anyway".
As the years passed I tried to be more grown-up about it. But it was hard to forgive and forget. About once a year I'd ask a senior New Zealand Rugby official if World Rugby had ever replied to the complaint New Zealand had immediately lodged in 2017.
"Not a word," was always the reply.
Now, just when a tiny amount of calm was growing in my mind over the incident, comes a Snivelling, pathetic statement from Poite that's even worse than his original screw-up.
Yes, he said, he was wrong at Eden Park. Yes, it should have been a penalty kick for the All Blacks.
(Granted, a bit late for the admission. When a bad call by South African ref Craig Joubert handed victory to the Waratahs over the Crusaders in the 2014 Super Rugby final at least Joubert had the backbone to ring then Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder the next morning, after viewing tapes, and apologise. Still, better to say you got it wrong after four years than never.)
But what was mind-numbingly weird was that Poite then blathered on that "many people called me after the game and told me, 'That was a mistake, but it was justice, the right decision to make'. Even the World Rugby staff management gave me this call."
We have to accept, I suppose, that French rugby referees and their friends see the world differently. Yes, it would have been romantic if the All Blacks had won that Eden Park test with a sweeping 60-metre try. But test rugby, by its very nature, involves enormous pressure, which leads to mistakes, which leads to chances to win with a penalty goal.
What's appalling is that, if what Poite says is true, and it's difficult to know why he'd make it up, is that one jerk, or maybe several jerks, from World Rugby felt ripping the All Blacks off with an incorrect decision was "justice".
You're not paranoid, they say, if people really are out to get you. Every dark suspicion any Kiwi rugby person has ever had has been confirmed by Poite about how Six Nations' domination of World Rugby makes the international rulers of the game prejudiced against the Southern Hemisphere.
Rugby's David v Goliath
Meanwhile, having gone to Hamilton in 2019 with two dear Tongan friends to see the inevitable 92-7 whipping by the All Blacks, it's hard to hold out much hope for a closer contest at Mt Smart.
I think the TAB has it exactly right when they offer odds so long on an All Blacks victory that anyone who puts $100 on New Zealand will get a return of one cent if the All Blacks win.
The brutal reality is that the massive repository of talent in the Pacific Islands has been seized on by professional clubs all over the world. Last year there were 24 players of Pasifika descent playing professionally in the United States alone. In Europe, the numbers run into the hundreds.
Even without Covid-19, prising away Tongan, Fijian or Samoan players from their clubs for test matches is a massive task.
It was interesting in Hamilton two years ago to see how Tongan fans, who had recently packed Mt Smart for league tests, were noticeable by their absence.
Like the oddsmakers at the TAB many Tongans, while they'd love a 2021 miracle against the All Blacks, know that this is a test where Goliath has all the resources, and no matter how much courage the Davids in Tongan red have, the game will be brutally one-sided.