Suddenly, Ma'a Nonu has become the people's favourite. Everyone loves Nonu now and he might wonder what's prompted this shift in thinking.
It wasn't so long ago Nonu was a divisive figure held in contempt for his Super Rugby flitting - Blues one year, Highlanders the next, back to the Blues and then the Hurricanes. Even in a professional world where loyalty is obsolete and the cult of me rules, that was a bit much. Not many people loved Nonu when he was dancing around the country with no particular intent.
Radio Sport's Martin Devlin with All Blacks fullback Ben Smith.
Radio Sport's Martin Devlin talks to former All Blacks skipper Todd Blackadder.
But it's all different now. Different because Nonu, by having the best Super Rugby season of his career, showed that his nomadic years were all about him searching for something he couldn't find. He wasn't a mercenary or a trouble maker - he was a lost soul with a broken heart.
The Hurricanes were his life until 2011 when coach Mark Hammett took it all away. Nonu was sacked, forced to leave the city that he called home and owned a little piece of his soul. Unable to be with the team he loved, he couldn't quite find it within himself to love the teams he was with.
"Being back in Wellington - to be back with my wife and kids and having my parents around and good close friends and playing good footy with my mates who I have played with for a long time," says Nonu as to why he feels he had the best campaign of his career.
"When I was playing for different franchises people were saying 'he's not producing the goods he does for the black jersey'. I played for franchises that didn't go well and it is always harder when you are not winning. People ask a lot of questions and I guess when you are in that winning environment then people say you are ticking all the boxes. Whereas when you are losing - you have that aspect of you play for the All Blacks and you have to bring that experience to that team.
"I knew what I needed to do this year. I looked forward to each week. I knew what to do ... do my work during the week and try not to cut corners in terms of the physical aspect each week. I am different from the other players because I have got to do a lot of conditioning. I am not as fit as all the other guys who are naturally really fit. It was an exciting year, where we had a main goal of trying to win the championship."
The Hurricanes came up short but Nonu had emptied his tank: played for his mates and for the jersey and the integrity and honesty of his season restored faith that his professionalism is total rather than reserved for the All Blacks.
That's the bit no one could really get - how Nonu could be so erratic and loose at Super Rugby and so direct and accurate with the All Blacks.
Undoubtedly that variation in performance, that almost Jekyll and Hyde business, prevented his work in the test arena from being appreciated. It didn't seem right that he could transform so easily and so quickly and scepticism perhaps skewed opinion.
Or at least scepticism made it hard to fully appreciate the contribution of Nonu, who, since 2008, has pounded up the middle of the field for the All Blacks without complaint.
It's been a thankless chore in a public sense as so few realise what it takes to play in that volume of traffic and relentlessly find a way over the gainline.
A few more people get it now. Partly because Nonu has redeemed himself but also because Sonny Bill Williams has a had a few goes at it and made it look like rocket science. This intense and almost impossible to call battle was supposed to break out this year between Nonu and Williams for the All Black No12 jersey.
There's no battle at the moment, though: Nonu, if it went to the vote, would have a landslide majority. Maybe his value hasn't been appreciated in recent years - but it is now. Finally, in his 13th year as an All Black, Nonu has universal acceptance. He has the support and backing that hasn't always been there and in a few months he'll be gone. It's like those people who spend years slowly developing their house to finally get it just how they want it - and then sell it.
He's made it his thing to be staunch so he's not likely to open the floodgates and gush about how much it means to him to finally be a player whose place in the nation's affection is now secure. Nor is he dwelling on the fact that these next few months will be his last as an All Blacks before he joins Toulon after the World Cup.
"I always knew that the day when I was playing rugby in New Zealand would come to an end," he says. "I didn't know when that was going to be. Through the years I thought it was going to be earlier. But in terms of how it was going to end - I wanted to dictate that. I don't want to be talking about the end. I just want to enjoy this time.
"I want to play the best I can in this time ... get the body right, get the body fit and the mind right where I can really enjoy it."
A happy Nonu is a dangerous Nonu and a dangerous Nonu is good news for the All Blacks and bad news for everyone else.
Debut v England, Wellington