Several new faces, and some returning ones too, could force their way into the All Blacks end-of-year tour squad.
Four additional spots in an extended 37-man touring party leaves plenty of room to groom new talent in the outside backs, midfield and front-row.
When the team is revealed tomorrow, Matt Duffie, Tim Perry and Jack Goodhue could be among the talking points. And there will always be those considered unlucky to miss out.
Duffie could be a bolter of sorts. Seta Tamanivalu's recall, after playing three tests last year, has been well flagged after a move to the wing at the Crusaders rejuvenated his career. With Ben Smith, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Jordie Barrett and Israel Dagg all absent, his call-up is widely expected. That could leave a choice between Blues and North Harbour wing Duffie, and discarded 54-test veteran Julian Savea.
Between Waisake Naholo, Rieko Ioane and Tamanivalu, the All Blacks probably feel they have enough power, so including the contrasting aerial skills of Duffie, the former Melbourne Storm prodigy, for the first time may be favoured.
At first glance the locking group seems straightforward. Sam Whitelock, Luke Romano, Scott Barrett and Patrick Tuipulotu are all likely to travel but uncertainty remains about Brodie Retallick's availability after he and wife, Niki, lost their baby prematurely.
Since then Retallick has missed the last three tests in Buenos Aires, Cape Town and Brisbane. Given the delicate nature of the situation and the All Blacks' tendency to put player welfare at the forefront of decisions, Retallick may be given more time at home.
With Vaea Fifita and Jerome Kaino expected to be among the seven-strong loose forward mix, the All Blacks could find additional locking cover there if needed.
In the midfield, Crusaders and Northland centre Goodhue appears odds-on to make the trip. Goodhue enjoyed an exceptional rookie Super Rugby season. His size and strength are valuable assets but it's his decision-making and distribution that could see him really flourish. He is a natural centre, one who offers something different to Ryan Crotty and Anton Lienert-Brown. Charlie Ngatai is a classy footballer but he may benefit from a proper preseason after battling concussion again.
Choices at first five-eighth are also intriguing. Richie Mo'unga's call up to cover Beauden Barrett in Brisbane indicated his place in the pecking order but, with Damian McKenzie in the mix, the All Blacks already have three No 10s. McKenzie is poised to switch to first-five at the Chiefs next year and the All Blacks could opt to fast-track that process by giving him time in the saddle. That must be balanced against the positives of getting Mo'unga up to speed.
Up-front coach Steve Hansen has been hit hard by injuries this year, losing both starting props. He will be forced to dig deep into reserves if he opts to take six props away. Hurricanes tight head Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, who played one test against Japan back in 2013, probably has the inside running over powerhouse Chiefs prospect Atu Moli, the former New Zealand under-20s captain. With Joe Moody out and Ofa Tu'ungafasi capable of playing both sides the All Blacks may need another loose head, and that spot could go to Tasman's well-travelled 29-year-old Perry who spent time with the team earlier this year.
Hooker is another interesting conundrum. With a large squad, the All Blacks will not take an apprentice as they have on previous northern tours.
Wellington's Asafo Aumua has been the standout player of the Mitre 10 Cup this season; a one-man human wrecking ball both on the charge and on defence.
While the jump from provincial to international is seismic, his form seems irresistible. But unless the All Blacks take four hookers to cater for the midweek match in Lyon, Aumua probably needs to force out nine-test rake Nathan Harris.
The All Blacks are on record that their three established halfbacks will tour. This includes Tawera Kerr-Barlow, who leaves for French club La Rochelle at the end of the year.
Possible ABs squad:
Wyatt Crockett, Nepo Laulala, Ofa Tu'ungafasi, Kane Hames, Jeffery Toomaga Allen/Atu Moli, Tim Perry, Dane Coles, Codie Taylor, Asafo Aumua/Nathan Harris, Sam Whitelock, Scott Barrett, Patrick Tuipulotu, Luke Romano, Kieran Read (c), Sam Cane, Liam Squire, Ardie Savea, Matt Todd, Jerome Kaino, Vaea Fifita, Aaron Smith, TJ Perenara, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Rieko Ioane, Damian McKenzie, Waisake Naholo, David Havili, Seta Tamanivalu, Matt Duffie, Sonny Bill Williams, Ryan Crotty, Anton Lienert-Brown, Ngani Laumape, Jack Goodhue, Beauden Barrett, Lima Sopoaga.