National leader Simon Bridges has a First XV of varied ability, some of whom are stars, some of whom have once been stars and some of whom need to lift their game.
Unlike All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen, it is a harder for Bridges to demote out-of-form MPs without risking revolt.
There is an expectation that an MP going through a rough patch could again regain their mojo and again be a valued team player.
Justice spokesman Mark Mitchell is one such MP who scores poorly in today's ratings of National's first XV.
He is one of three in Bridges' first XV who have been rated below par in an assessment of the impact they have had publicly, and the value they bring to their party.
Four of Bridges' MPs have been rated as exemplary, including shadow leader of the House Gerry Brownlee, who does not have high-impact publicly but is hugely valuable to the party.
Not all of Bridges' best-performing MPs are in the first XV.
Shane Reti seems to approach Opposition as though he is not going to waste a second of it.
At his current ranking, No 31, he would not have a hope of being in a cabinet of 20 - assuming theoretically that National might have 15 and a coalition partner supplies five.
But Reti's performance suggests he would be a contender.
The former doctor is a details person. He wrote a complete draft regulatory framework for the use of medicinal cannabis when a bill on the subject went through Parliament last year without one.
As the local Whangārei MP he did outstanding work on the deficiencies of the meningococcal vaccination programme in Northland and worked with health spokesman Michael Woodhouse to secure a select committee inquiry into it.
And as spokesman for tertiary education, skills and employment, he has been across the major restructuring proposed for the country's polytechnics.
Another MP who has had high impact is former minister Nick Smith, now ranked at 23.
A veteran of 29 years in Parliament and a former minister, Opposition has brought out the best and worst in Smith.
He gets stuck into an issue with almost obsessive gusto, as he has with electoral law reform.
But he gets so close to an issue he occasionally loses perspective.
He frequently clashes with Speaker Trevor Mallard, who appears to have a low tolerance for Smith.
Last week Smith was thrown out of the debating chamber after being told to stand, withdraw and apologise by Mallard for something he had said.
Smith's response was to ask what he had said that was so wrong.
Among those not rated but who would almost certainly be part of a National-led cabinet would be chief whip and farmer Barbara Kuriger and agriculture spokesman Todd Muller.
Muller was promoted to the top 20 only last month when former agriculture minister and spokesman Nathan Guy decided to retire at the next election.
Until then, Muller, a traditional rival of Bridges, had been kept at place No 31, which was a sore point for those who see Muller as a future leadership prospect.
Muller's mates were resentful and argued it was a sign Bridges felt threatened by Muller.
Bridges' mates argued that Muller had not made enough impact to warrant promotion.
Once Muller had been elevated to agriculture, a hugely important portfolio for National, it was impossible to keep him out of the top 20.
But the pressure is now on him to perform.
Bridges himself has received a rating of 7 points. He has been leader for 18 months and in that time faced some extraordinary challenges, mainly the meltdown and defection of former kitchen cabinet insider Jami-lee Ross, and myriad damaging stories related to it.
It was traumatic times for the caucus and Bridges and his deputy Paula Bennett.
It cannot be said that Bridges emerged unscathed. There was enough disquiet about his various judgments to fuel leadership speculation but for now, at least, he appears to have seen off potential challengers.
Simon Bridges 7
Bridges may not be popular in his caucus or his party but he is gaining acceptance. His leadership has stabilised. Has withstood pressure and looks resilient. Has prosecuted cost-of-living issues well, organised the caucus to produce policy, and managed two reshuffles. Still waiting for SFO inquiry on donations. Needs to clean up party's reputation on donations. An MP since 2008.
Paula Bennett 7
Has fitted into her role seamlessly, showing unconditional support to the leader, despite them not exactly being the perfect match. Was immersed in political management and strategy for at least six years with Key, English and Joyce and was the logical choice to inherit the Joyce throne heading the campaign and driving strategy. An MP since 2005.
Paul Goldsmith 8
Deserved his promotion to No 3 after Amy Adams' surprise announcement that she would be retiring from politics. Single-handedly punctured the hubris of Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones over his $3 billion provincial growth fund with old fashioned leg-work, research and OIA. Has had a good start in finance with launch of 44-page policy proposals. An MP since 2011.
Judith Collins 8
One of the few in the shadow cabinet who has been in Opposition before (along with Gerry Brownlee and Jacqui Dean). She has been a stand-out performer in needling former Housing Minister Phil Twyford over Kiwibuild failures. May have been rated highest of all were it not for her inability to sound convincing when she says she supports the leader. An MP since 2002.
Todd McClay 6
Promoted to No 5 through close association with leader Simon Bridges rather than outstanding performance. A backroom dealer in the past with Jami-lee Ross on party donations. Even more an insider in Bridges' shadow kitchen cabinet. An MP since 2008.
Mark Mitchell 4
Earned a high profile last year but has been missing in action this year. An overly ambitious tilt at the leadership earned him a high ranking, No 6, in the shadow cabinet which was vindicated by his campaign over Immigration Minister's mishandling of the Karel Sroubek case and attention to Defence. Virtually invisible this year until the past few weeks. An MP since 2011.
Nikki Kaye 7
Applies herself to every task with the passion of someone whose ministerial career was rudely interrupted by an election. Threw herself into running nationwide meetings over Tomorrow's Schools review. But throws herself into everything she does. Dedication in excess. An MP since 2008.
Gerry Brownlee 8
The Annette King of the National caucus, providing stability just by being there. With 23 years under his belt, his judgment is respected, he can talk to the leadership in a way others can't and is listened to. A rock in the party, or perhaps that should be boulder. One of the few Nats who gets on with Speaker Trevor Mallard, but then he gets on with everyone. Regained foreign affairs in recent reshuffle. An MP since 1996.
Michael Woodhouse 8
Was well placed to take over health in opposition, having been a health administrator in another life and a former ACC Minister. Has made most impact on Pharmac funding and with colleague Shane Reti on the failings of the meningococcal vaccination programme. Assisted by failures of the health minister. An MP since 2008.
Louise Upston 7
Has taken to the combat role of opposition well which is just as well because she shadows one of the most combative ministers, Carmel Sepuloni, social development. Is given plenty of air time in the House to talk about rising beneficiary numbers. Bigger test will come when required to come up with new policy. An MP since 2008.
Alfred Ngaro 4
Made his mark in Opposition but for the wrong reasons - sprung as he was considering leaving National to set up new Christian party. Has done nothing to make his mark in 18 months. Handicapped slightly by the fact that National turned CYFs into Oranga Tamariki so has an interest as the Government in letting it succeed. An MP since 2011.
Scott Simpson 7
Environment, Climate Change
Had a brief taste of being a minister under Bill English and showed immediate competence. Should probably have been promoted earlier. Poised to take over the role of blue-green leadership from Nick Smith and Maggie Barry. Picking up climate change in recent reshuffle gives him huge opportunity to sell whatever policy the party settles on. An MP since 2011.
Jacqui Dean 4
Local Government, Small Business
No impact in government or in opposition. Could have done much more with shadow portfolios of local government and small business to justify her place in the first XV. An MP since 2005.
Melissa Lee 7
She'll always have Clare Curran. Maybe not much more, since the demise of the former broadcasting and communications minister. Has not had a lot to get her teeth into, but possible restructuring of state media agencies will provide new hunting grounds. An MP since 2008.
Chris Bishop 8
Regional Development, Transport
Deserved his meteoric promotion to shadow cabinet in June, picking up portfolios to shadow Shane Jones and Phil Twyford. Skilled at turning an issue into a running wound, as evidenced by work on the "secret letter" and Wally Haumaha's appointment as Deputy Police Commissioner. An MP since 2014.