This certainly was no easy feat, but the writers for superrugby.co.nz have had a crack at choosing just 15 players to make the form side from the Investec Super Rugby Aotearoa competition. Here they are, including those who were unlucky to miss out.
It was supposed to be the game nobody wanted to play but the All Blacks and Wales put their respective Rugby World Cup campaign disappointments behind them by extending their lengthy rivalry before New Zealand claimed a 40-17 win at Tokyo on Friday.
Having been under pressure to turn on a pressure performance in their second Bledisloe Cup game against Australia in Auckland last month, the All Blacks pack was facing the same demand in their Rugby World Cup opener against South Africa in Yokohama on Saturday.
It may be All Blacks coach Steve Hansen's fifth Rugby World Cup but he admitted attending World Cups was still the highlight of his career and he was excited heading into Saturday's pool opener against South Africa in Yokohama.
Perceptions the All Blacks didn't have an established midfield combination in the manner of Ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith at the 2015 World Cup were understandable but assistant coach Ian Foster is happy with his resources for the World Cup in Japan.
Selections in a Rugby World Cup year can be the toughest of the four-year international rugby cycle and the first of two culls of prospective players occurred with the naming of the Bledisloe Cup squad on Wednesday.
All the talk about the winning side gaining momentum heading into the Rugby World Cup came to nothing when the All Blacks and South Africa fought out a 16-16 draw in their Investec Rugby Championship Test in Wellington on Saturday.