First rotation, then sabbaticals.
Two words that once had no immediate connection to the All Blacks but now, I reckon that's who most of us think of as soon as we hear these terms used.
As opposed to rotation, I had no instant anti-reaction when the sabbatical scenario was first floated regarding our two biggest stars in the All Blacks galaxy.
Because like most fans, I needed no persuading to see the sense in nursing Richie McCaw and Dan Carter hopefully through to the World Cup by giving them an extended break before 2015.
These are once in a lifetime superstars who deserve to become the exception to the rule that says elite athletes are paid handsomely to perform and not to go missing in action.
But now that Conrad Smith has also been granted time out in the same fashion as McCaw and Carter, I'm feeling a tad uneasy.
My misgivings are as follows.
First, I see the likelihood of the exceptions becoming the rule.
If a senior man-in-black like Smith is to be given the same treatment as his two stellar team-mates, that surely means the privilege must be extended to every other long-serving All Black.
In particular, simply upon request, the likes of Ma'a Nonu, Kieran Read, Ali Williams, Keven Mealamu, Piri Weepu, Tony Woodcock and Andrew Hore can now expect a similar incentive when and if their contracts are renewed.
And not long after them, I assume for example, Israel Dagg, Cory Jane, Sam Whitelock and the Franks brothers will be entitled to expect a big half-time in their international careers when they've become further entrenched.
When granting a sabbatical to any rugby player, the presumption is made that it's worth paying them to stay away for a while to re-energise and that they will return and pick up where they left off.
Or why offer such a dispensation in the first place?
Putting the careers of McCaw and Carter on hold involves minimal risk in this regard as they are still almost certain to be the best available when they return.
But the same cannot be said of any not quite so blessed individuals and so the risk of them coming back with their all-round appeal somewhat dimmed becomes a very real factor.
And so in turn, any selectors would automatically have the unwieldy task of having to establish whether the returning player is worthy of re-selection after a prolonged absence.
All of which to me has the potential to become messy and unwarranted and which is why you have to look long and hard to find a comparable situation existing in any other sport to the same extent.
I'm not expecting this predicament to unfold in the same destructive way the extreme rotation nonsense unfolded in recent seasons and nor do I think Steve Hansen would let it develop that way.
But I am interested in your thoughts on the matter and if you share my unease, however mild it is at this stage.So your thoughts please.