Picking an argument with All Black coach Steve Hansen is usually unproductive. It's equally tough if you get on to his specialist rugby topic.
When he instigates a discussion it's done with a wry grin and one of his droll observations - tactics which are designed to provoke an unwary response. Hansen's not as agile as he was but his rugby brain is alert and seriously aligned to his vocal chords. He loves to joust and that helps maintain his edge.
It's tough to quibble with Hansen, who has directed the All Blacks to 38 wins, 2 defeats and 2 draws since he took over as supremo in 2012.
There have been flat patches but that remarkable record makes the All Blacks favourites to claim next year's Rugby World Cup. Hansen, Ian Foster and Grant Fox may find their pre-tournament task even tougher when they must cull more than 40 players to the 31 allowed in each tournament squad.
Team of the Year, Coach of the Year, Player of the Year - the honours flowed for the All Blacks after they ended their season with a 34-16 victory against Wales.
World Cup favouritism is a natural consequence of those results and while Hansen acknowledged that thinking, he did not agree with it.
Perhaps it was his last dash of public relations for the year or he'd waded through plenty of the sponsor's product but he did not see his side's continued chokehold on their rivals as compelling evidence they should be favourites for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
"I think everybody that rocks up to the World Cup, if they've got the right formula and use their luck, can win it," he said.
Everybody? Really Steve? Maybe six teams at a pinch but that's yer lot. Hansen wasn't finished with his reasons, pointing out that the All Blacks should have won the title in 2007 and expected to but did not turn up with the right attitude.
There I was thinking Wayne Barnes was the bete noir who had sawn off the All Blacks and caused Graham Henry to deliver a deep forensic analysis of his refereeing which helped to reinstate the coaching panel for another term.
Hansen was not finished.
"No one's won back-to-back World Cups so we shouldn't be favourites but we will be because we're the No1 side in the world."
If there was a hair between teams at the top of the world rankings it would be fair to lump them together in the top line of World Cup betting. However the All Blacks are well clear of the Springboks with another decent gap back to the cluster of Ireland, Australia and England.
How else do you frame a market? Hansen has a very strong interest in horse racing and understands the odds in that industry as well as anyone. Pedigree, form and results count for plenty when punters go through their racing guides.
It's the same when we assess Rugby World Cup prospects. The round-robin qualifying and knockout format is a quadrennial phenomenon which is a marathon exercise stretching sides' resilience more than normal schedules.
Pick the side you think best covers those bases. Sorry Steve, but the favourites are your mob.