What started as the day Dan Carter was set to officially return to Super Rugby ended with the downcast All Blacks legend nursing a cruel injury. What's more, it has, at least temporarily, taken the spotlight off a key question for the Blues - at the most critical juncture of their season.
A sodden and somewhat anticlimactic day at Blues training concluded with one lingering question: when will Beauden Barrett start at No 10?
Much of the focus on Thursday, as the Blues moved training from their Alexandra Park base to Mount Albert Grammar School because of the state of their pitch, centred on Dan Carter.
The All Blacks great was named on the bench, and scheduled to speak with media about his imminent Blues debut against the Hurricanes on Saturday.
Unfortunately for those eager to witness Carter's return, he then tweaked a calf muscle and was immediately pulled from covering first five-eighth and fullback, with Matt Duffie taking his place.
Carter is, of course, no spring chicken. The 38-year-old cut a downcast figure as he limped into the sheds, having worked hard to get his body back into the required shape for the intensely brutal New Zealand derbies, but Blues coach Leon MacDonald is not prepared to risk losing the veteran for the remainder of the season.
For all the Carter clamour, the more pressing question surrounds the other Blues playmakers and, specifically, when or in fact if Barrett will start in his preferred position this season.
It won't be this week as Barrett returns to Wellington – and squares off against younger brother Jordie – for the first time since leaving the Hurricanes.
The topic is somewhat unfair on Blues first-five Otere Black, who has performed solidly through three wins and one loss in Super Rugby Aotearoa.
But MacDonald and All Blacks coach Ian Foster have both stated they see Barrett as a 10-15.
Barrett undoubtedly gets more touches and, therefore, has more influence from first-receiver. And while Barrett's kicking game has shone at times since joining the Blues, his traditional strength of putting the foot down to challenge and break the line has been rather subdued.
The Blues signed Barrett as their long-term first-five, though the situation is complicated by his sabbatical absence in Japan next season.
Further clouding the picture is the Blues' lack of fullback options, with Duffie the only fit alternative.
For now, MacDonald is content to continue with his playmaking combination, which includes the surprise retention of Harry Plummer at second-five over TJ Faiane, but the question of when Barrett will next start at 10 will not disappear anytime soon.
"There's a lot of thought. We talk about the mix of the team in depth and that's definitely a discussion point that we think long and hard about," MacDonald said. "Remembering the way we're playing the recipe we've had some success in he's been a big part of that at fullback.
"He's very much a team-first man. He's not knocking the door down saying he needs to move forward. He's playing good rugby at the back and enjoying his time there so that makes it an easy decision for us because Otere is playing good rugby and the team is prospering because the team is working well together.
"Right now there's no need to change that, but it's a week-by-week discussion."
This is a critical season juncture for the Blues. The loss of in-form No 8 Hoskins Sotutu to a knee injury, hooker James Parsons to concussion and Caleb Clarke's absence from the left wing because of his grandfather's tangi this weekend adds to their adversity after suffering their first loss of the campaign in Christchurch last week.
Sotutu's injury forces a reshuffle in the loose forwards, which opens the door for Akira Ioane's long-awaited crack at No 8, with Aaron Carroll promoted to blindside.
"Akira was outstanding it was probably his best game for the Blues since I've been here. He was physical in a lot of the stuff he did off the ball; his breakdown and tackle work was immense. He ran hard and was a real handful. He's confident and on top of his game at the moment. He's been wanting this opportunity at eight for a long time. The timing for him is probably ideal he's ready to show he's a fantastic eight as well."
The Blues know they will confront a different Hurricanes beast to the one they toppled at Eden Park in the opening round. The Hurricanes have been significantly bolstered by Jordie Barrett's return in recent weeks. Dane Coles is also back; TJ Perenara leading through his actions while Ardie Savea's influence grows each week.
To stay in the hunt for the inaugural title, the Blues and Barrett will need to be near their best.
"They're all big games and they're all really important. They're cut-throat and there's so much riding on it. You've got to be nine out of 10 every week because if you drop to a seven or eight you're in trouble. It's a massive challenge for every team fronting every week.
"Halfway through the competition, the injury toll is starting to get bigger. It's a brutal competition but it's great."
Blues' side to face the Hurricanes in Wellington:
Beauden Barrett, Mark Telea, Rieko Ioane, Harry Plummer, Emoni Narawa, Otere Black, Finlay Christie, Akira Ioane, Dalton Papalii, Aaron Carroll, Josh Goodhue, Patrick Tuipulotu (c), Ofa Tuungafasi, Kurt Eklund, Alex Hodgman. Reserves: Luteru Tolai, Marcel Renata, Sione Mafileo, Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, Tony Lamborn, Jonathan Ruru, TJ Faiane, Matt Duffie.