James Mortimer 20.Oct.2013Getty Images
Head coach Steve Hansen confirmed that nine senior players will head directly to Paris, with the French playing the All Blacks at the Stade de France on November 9, and it is expected that the likes of Richie McCaw and Cory Jane will headline that group.
One suspects the pair may not be risked against Japan after being scratched last week with minor concerns.
Dan Carter may be part of the ‘advance party’ to Europe, but with minimal game time this season, he could be an option against the All Blacks first tour opponent.
The squad to play the Brave Blossoms will be named at the conclusion of the ITM Cup Premiership and Championship Finals.
Hansen said the tour was being used as development along with the usual unspoken demand that the All Blacks attempt to win all Test matches.
"The aim of the tour is to further develop our game structures, our skills sets and our individual players," Hansen said.
"We will be looking to use the tour to take ourselves beyond where we are at the moment."
The All Blacks play England at Twickenham on November 16, but Hansen indicated that up to five players would be sent home after that Test to begin their off-seasons.
The final fixture of the Air New Zealand End of Year tour is against Ireland a week later at Aviva Stadium.