10 Big Selection Questions
01 How much pressure can Jack Goodhue exert on Crotty to become the regular centre? And what role will Anton Lienert-Brown play? impact sub off the bench presumably.
02 If Franks, Coles and Moody are the starting front-row, who is the secondary unit?
Codie Taylor is a certainty at hooker but will it be Kane Hames or Wyatt Crockett; Ofa Tu’ungafasi or Nepo Laulala?
03 How are the All Blacks going to use Vaea Fifita? He’s clearly a talent but if he doesn’t start, can he be used on the bench?
04 Do the All Blacks need to find a second No 8? When Kieran Read was injured for the last game of 2017, the All Blacks used Sam Whitelock. Can they do that again, or will they try to give the likes of Cane and Squire occasional game time at No 8 to school them up?
05 What’s going to happen in the back three? Smith and Ioane are certainties but what about Israel Dagg. Could he slot in on the right wing and have Smith at fullback? Or is Barrett too good to leave out? And then there is Waisake Naholo to consider.
06 No one really stuck their hand up to be the third lock last year. Luke Romano, Scott Barrett and Patrick Tuipulotu all tried with limited success to impress. Gut feel says it will be Tuipulotu who stakes the claim.
07 Obviously with Lima Sopoaga on his way to Coventry, the All Blacks need to find another No 10 to back-up Barrett.
Is Damian McKenzie ready or still too wild?
08 Mitchell Drummond appears to be the candidate with the inside running to become the third halfback. Which is awkward because he doesn’t regularly start for the Crusaders. Who else is there though?
09 Will Beauden ever give up the goal-kicking duties to younger brother Jordie?
10 What’s going to happen to Ardie Savea? Can he force his way past Matt Todd to reclaim a spot on the bench?