James Mortimer 01.Sep.2013Getty Images
A new tighthead will start for the All Blacks after Owen Franks was ruled out with a groin concern, while Liam Messam will likely have to watch Steven Luatua increase his claims on the blindside position, after the Chiefs co-captain hamstring injury was not cleared for action.
Ma’a Nonu, who has been under a small cloud due to an ankle injury, has not been ruled out at this stage for the All Blacks. If he is, Francis Saili or Ryan Crotty are chances to make their Test starting debuts, although another backup for the second five-eighth position could be cleared to play.
While Dan Carter is the team’s senior number ten, head coach Steve Hansen did confirm he was also in the squad for cover, due to the team’s limited options at number 12.
Carter and Beauden Barrett are both likely to be available for selection, and pending on what the week unfolds both could play prominent roles in the upcoming Test.
However with second five-eighth a position the All Blacks would desperately love to develop depth in, there is a strong likelihood of the impressive Saili or Crotty could move into contention for a start.