Monday morning, New Zealand time, sees England play France at Twickenham. It matches the two best rugby teams in Europe, coached by two men who are considered by some who have been under their care to be jerks.
On the one side, we have Eddie Jones, the obsessive Aussie running England. Jones' first England captain, Kiwi-born Dylan Hartley, has written that with Jones, "anyone who looked even slightly out of shape was like a piece of meat, thrown in the bin because it was past its use by date".
When Jones dropped Hartley in 2018 there were no consoling words, no kindly arm draped over a shoulder. Instead, there was a phone call, that began with just three brutal words: "You're ****ed mate."
Across the channel say hello to Fabien Galthie, the former French captain who came to his national coaching job after stints at Montpellier and Toulon. One Montpellier player Scottish lock Jim Hamilton calls him "a poisoned genius".
Another Scot at Montpellier, loose forward John Beattie, says that "a lot of people (at the club) had their confidence destroyed, needed to get out, or were bullied". Beattie told a BBC interviewer that Galthie "struggled to be a decent human being".
What nobody can dispute with either Jones or Galthie is that whatever they're like as people, they're very successful international coaches. Jones masterminded the greatest upset in World Cup history when his Japan team beat South Africa 34-32 at the 2015 tournament. When Galthie took charge of France in January he dumped 22 of the 36 players who had been at the 2019 World Cup, picking a team initially jeered at for being "a bunch of kids". In his first test as coach France then stunned the northern rugby world by beating England 24-17 in Paris.
There was a time in New Zealand when intensity was considered everything in a coach. Giants of the distant past like Colin Meads trembled at sharp words from coach Fred Allen.
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But you can date a change in attitude at the All Blacks to 2005 when Graham Henry had a fateful cup of coffee with Tana Umaga. Umaga asked, "what do you give those team talks for"? Henry replied, "I thought they might provide the team with a bit of motivation, a bit of direction, before the match". Umaga paused, and said, "but are they for you, or are they for us"?
The end of hellfire and damnation team talks also ushered in an era when, as current captain Sam Cane told me two years ago: "All players' opinions in the All Blacks are valued 100 per cent. I think that sort of culture and environment is the way society is trending in all aspects, whether it's business or in schools. They're empowering people, so they have a sense of belonging, a sense of ownership, and in return, they get the best out of them."
What's intriguing about the Galthie and Jones old school, my way or the highway, style is that it probably works best in the short doses provided by the preparation for test match rugby, rather than in the week after week grind of French and English club play or Super Rugby.
Constant, cold-eyed pressure can wear down the best of players. Even in the amateur era in the 1980s Wallabies' coach Alan Jones, at first, lauded for a triumphant tour of the British Isles, gradually lost his changing shed with late-night hectoring phone calls, and demands players take leave from their jobs to live and breathe the game 24/7.
Emotional intelligence would have once been laughed out of the room in rugby as some sort of soft, theoretical gibberish. But when, in 2017, Steve Hansen, making an equine comparison possibly only he could have got away with, said: "Like horses, some people need a cuddle, some people need a kick up the bum. But they all, horses or people, need to feel they belong, and they need to feel they are valued." What else was he doing but expressing emotional intelligence?
Icy hearted coaching to win trophies not friends may never die. But All Black victories at the World Cups of 2011 and 2015 do show that winning while also showing some humanity is not necessarily the impossible dream.