Signs point to Fekitoa starting for All Blacks

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James Mortimer     18 Jun 2014     Getty Images

Hurricanes captain Conrad Smith broke a bone in his thumb during the World Champion’s 28-27 win over England – which sealed the three Test series – ensuring that a new face will appear in the midfield this weekend.

While Ryan Crotty is an option to start, the potential combination with Ma’a Nonu, coupled with the Highlanders midfielders’ brilliant season so far, will likely see the 22-year-old receive his first Test start.

Crotty is an attractive option, more for his ability to organise the defence.

It will be this aspect where Smith will be missed, but initial training runs early in the week have seen Fekitoa running formation alongside Nonu.

It would give the All Blacks a 210kg dreadnought midfield, which is likely to encounter Manu Tuilagi after it was widely considered that the freight locomotive was not enough of a bullet train to be stationed on the wing.