Until the late 1940s, New Zealand adhered to international rugby's strict condition that no replacements were allowed at test level, even for injuries. But within New Zealand, injury replacements were allowed at all levels and by mutual agreement this also applied for transtasman tests.

For the 1949 series in New Zealand, Australia and New Zealand agreed to abide by the International Board's no-replacement regulation.

In 1968, the board at last allowed injury replacements in internationals. At Sydney that year Ian Kirkpatrick replaced Brian Lochore to become the All Blacks' first test replacement since Tim Mason in Sydney in 1947.

In 1997, replacements were allowed for tactical reasons, initially a maximum of four, which increased from six to seven, two of whom had to be specialist front-rowers.