In 2012, Mark Hammett gave the symbolic keys of the Hurricanes franchise to TJ Perenara and Beauden Barrett.
Barely into their 20s then, the young halfback and first-five were entrusted as the future of the team to guide them to Super Rugby success.
There were bumpy beginnings as Hammett - in his second year coaching the side - and the inside back pairing tried to put their mark on the side. Hammett has since moved on but Barrett and Perenara have become All Blacks and shape as the most exciting No 9 and 10 combination from the Kiwi sides.
An improved forward pack and tight defence have been key factors in the Hurricanes' form, which has seen them win their first four games of the season. But one thing that has received less fanfare is the growing maturity of Perenara and Barrett. Their option-taking has been sharp and the pair now know how to drive their side around the park. Importantly, they have greater composure to help close out tight games. Six of the Hurricanes' eight losses last year were by nine points or less.
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The Hurricanes' 30-23 victory over the Blues in Palmerston North on Friday night showed the value of an experienced first-five in Super Rugby. Ihaia West is playing only his second season at this level and his selection last year was an afterthought that was forced upon the Blues due to injury. The Hawke's Bay pivot, a player of great potential, missed touch with his kicking and also spurned a couple of crucial penalty attempts.
Meanwhile, Barrett, who has accumulated more than 50 caps for the Hurricanes and has played 28 tests for the All Blacks, produced a sound 80-minute shift in a winning side.
Both Barrett and West are only 23 but the former, who is eight months older, has more Super Rugby experience. Crucially, Perenara has been beside him.
There are improvements to be made across the board by the Hurricanes. They weren't at their best in the victory over the Blues and Barrett said they needed to be more accurate on attack after they made 14 handling errors in Palmerston North. It's a measure of how far the Hurricanes have come that they aren't satisfied with wins.
"We probably just rushed it a little bit too much," Barrett said. "The pleasing thing for us is we are creating those opportunities and we are close to finishing them off."
Things are looking rosy for the Hurricanes but there's plenty more rugby to be played before a champion will be crowned this year.
"We are happy in camp," Barrett said. "We just want to prove to ourselves that we can do it. There's obviously a lot of doubters out there but we don't care about them. We just focus on our job."