With Ben Smith signed until 2020, the All Blacks are in great shape to build a team to win a third consecutive World Cup.

On the face of it, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen and the New Zealand Rugby paymasters have a lot of work to do this year, with a dozen or so top players still up for grabs.

But in reality, the All Blacks are well placed in the key areas. Captain Kieran Read, captain-in-waiting Sam Cane, Sam Whitelock, rising star Anton Lienert-Brown, midfield maestro Ryan Crotty and No. 2 halfback TJ Perenara are certain to be in for the long haul.

Of the headline acts, only the rejuvenated Israel Dagg is a potential problem. Malakai Fekitoa, Tawera Kerr-Barlow and out-of-favour centre Seta Tamanivalu may depart for European riches.

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Since the last World Cup - where the likes of Richie McCaw, Keven Mealamu and Tony Woodcock retired, while Dan Carter, Conrad Smith and Ma'a Nonu signed contracts in France - only Aaron Cruden and Charlie Faumuina are current All Blacks who have turned down the chance to play in 2019 and signed overseas deals.

With Read, Whitelock and Cane expected to sign on for the next World Cup that would give the All Blacks a strong nucleus of 13 players on the books for the back-to-back-back attempt in Japan.

The backline in 2019 could feature Aaron Smith, Beauden Barrett, Sonny Bill Williams, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Julian Savea and Ben Smith who have all signed on.

While forwards Dane Coles, Owen Franks, Joe Moody and Brodie Retallick should be there, along with Read, Whitelock and Cane. That's a midfield player and a loose forward away from a pretty formidable XV - and doesn't consider the latest generation of young players coming through like Ardie Savea, Anton Lienert-Brown, Rieko Ioane, Jordie Barrett, Codie Taylor and Damian McKenzie who could all sign longer deals over the two years.

Under contract

2017
Sam Whitelock
Kieran Read
Sam Cane
Ryan Crotty
Israel Dagg
Malakai Fekitoa
Rieko Ioane
Tawera Kerr-Barlow
Anton Lienert-Brown
Steven Luatua
Waisake Naholo
TJ Perenara
Seta Tamanivalu
Codie Taylor
Matt Todd
Ofa Tu'ungafasi

2018
Jordie Barrett
Wyatt Crockett
Jerome Kaino
Damian McKenzie
Charlie Ngatai
Luke Romano
Ardie Savea
Lima Sopoaga

2019
Beauden Barrett
Dane Coles
Owen Franks
Nehe Milner-Skudder
Joe Moody
Brodie Retallick
Julian Savea
Aaron Smith
Sonny Bill Williams

2020
Ben Smith