Finally the anointment came, the answer to the question which has fascinated rugby followers all year - Colin Slade would be the backup All Black five-eighth.
The one-test All Black had eased into the Tri-Nations squad as deputy to Daniel Carter and if his form and twice-broken jaw holds, must have the inside running for the World Cup.
"He adds a different dimension but we pondered that selection for a while because he has not played as much as we wanted," assistant coach Wayne Smith said.
Slade's backfield play, work under the high ball and counter-attack had all been strong parts of his selection claims. There have also been favourable reports about his leadership.
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