Adam Thomson's availability for the All Black tour remains unknown with confusion still about his long-term intentions.
The veteran loose forward is yet to commit to New Zealand rugby for 2013 yet there has been no confirmation he won't be at the Highlanders.
He will reveal all tomorrow but those with knowledge of the situation say "it's complicated" and Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph didn't provide absolute clarity when he was quizzed late last week. He talked of how much Thomson would be missed without actually saying that the 28-test All Black was definitely heading offshore.
Thomson has multiple offers, in Japan and in Europe. Having been on the margins of the All Black squad this year, he's hinted strongly that he will be moving on.
At 30, he's had his fill of Super Rugby and only regular test exposure will be enough to keep him.
The expectation is that he's heading to Japan. If so, it's difficult to believe the All Blacks will take him on tour next month. As Thomson can play across the back three, the All Blacks may look for an alternative if he's not available.
Wellington flanker Brad Shields has missed most of the ITM Cup with injury so he is an unlikely candidate. Matt Todd and Luke Braid are both capable at blindside and openside while Luke Whitelock, named in the initial wider training squad this year, can handle both No8 and blindside.