There's been a bit of concern expressed that the good old game of rugby has been getting a bit dour lately; a bit too dominated by defences and where entertainment value has dropped as we are not seeing so many tries and bright play.
I don't mind that at all. I think what we are seeing is a combination of things and the bottom line is that Super Rugby is providing a better platform for those players who make it up to the next level - the All Blacks.
We all used to say that Super Rugby was so different to test rugby that it bore very little resemblance and that it wasn't much use as an introduction. I don't think that's true any more.
That's down to a number of things - better defences, yes, but I think we are also witnessing an evening-up of personnel, skills and player movement in our various franchises.
As far as defences go, the law change that everyone had to stand back five metres was supposed to free things up for the attacking side. However, I reckon it has also given defenders an extra bit of time.
We are still seeing some good tries but it is noticeable that a lot of the line breaks are gobbled up by the second wave of defence.
I don't think there is anything wrong with that. No one wants to go back to the days of 52-45 scorelines and, if Super Rugby is to be the gateway to tests, defence is a key element there.
We saw it in the World Cup final, didn't we? All round the world, there seems to be an evening up of the game.
Super Rugby has also been affected by some players heading off overseas, some staying and playing really well, and factors such as the draft are also evening things up.
There are some new coaches around - like Dave Rennie at the Chiefs - and some new players putting their hands up and that all contributes to a general spread of skills.
There has been the usual raft of players heading overseas after the World Cup and this year we have seen more than usual drift of players between franchises.
Who would have thought a year or two ago that the Hurricanes would have suffered such a major outflow because some players didn't agree with the new coach?
Some who went overseas have proven no great loss but those who stayed - the likes of Cory Jane, Conrad Smith, Jason Eaton, Andrew Hore and Hosea Gear - have played well. They have had motivation and focus.
The Canes were supposed to be the whipping boys this year but (even though their sternest tests may yet be to come), they have done pretty well.
Their clash with the Highlanders last week was a good example of what I am talking about - if you went through player-by-player and rated both teams out of 10, I'd say you'd get a pretty even total at the end of it. The draft is working better than it used to; or coaches are using it better.
There does seem to be a more even spread of good players between franchises now.
Look at people such as Crusaders winger Sean Maitland - he was a Waikato schoolboy rep but wasn't taken up by the Chiefs.
One final thought: I wish the rugby judiciary would get some consistency. Having different people in different countries reaching different decisions doesn't work - as evidenced by the different penalties given to Luke Braid and Dane Coles for similar offences. Pat Lam has a point. I am not saying Braid should have got away with it - I'm saying Coles was lucky not to have been cited.
The Digby Ioane spear tackle earned him a long time out and fair enough - he has a history of such tackles.
The really silly one was Rene Ranger's suspension. I talked about his tackle with league people and they were amazed anyone had even thought of punishing him. He clearly went in to drive the try-scorer out or dislodge the ball - but was a fraction of a second too late.
Crazy - but all this inconsistency would be improved if there was a central panel of judiciary instead of different strokes for different folks in different countries.