Consistency of selection is a major goal for the All Blacks this year, but it's one that is going to prove hard to fulfil for this weekend's test in Dunedin where a number of tough choices will have to be made about how to best deal with the loss of Covid victims as well as what to do about the various Covid returnees.
Probably, if injury hadn't struck down Sam Whitelock, the All Blacks would have made possibly just one, maybe two changes to their starting team.
David Havili, who would likely have started in Auckland but for the fact he contracted Covid, is expected to be restored to the No 12 jersey. And, if he's fully recovered from the same virus, Will Jordan will probably replace Seve Reece on the right wing.
Just like Havili, Jordan was pencilled in to start at Eden Park. But now the selectors face an altogether trickier business of working out how to accommodate the loss of Whitelock and his locking colleague Tupou Vaa'i who is the latest to contract Covid.
It's tricky because they have two distinct routes from which to choose. Option one would be to return Scott Barrett from blindside flanker to his normal position of lock.
That would pave the way to make a straight choice at No 6 between Akira Ioane, as long as he's recovered from a nagging foot complaint, and Dalton Papalii.
The second option would be to keep Barrett on the side of the scrum and introduce Patrick Tuipulotu at lock.
The intrigue in this lies with how the selectors will assess the relative risks that are attached to both scenarios.
The natural inclination will be to see returning Barrett as the lower risk option. He'll go back to his more familiar role and most likely Ioane, who for much of last year appeared to be the first-choice blindside, will come into the team, briefed to play his natural game.
There will be specialists in specialist roles, and it will all make sense and yet this might in fact be the higher risk option.
The key battlegrounds haven't changed and it was at the scrum and lineout where the All Blacks exerted the most pressure against Ireland in the first test.
They didn't pick off Irish ball in any great volume, but the presence of Barrett at the tail forced Ireland to throw short more than they wanted and it restricted their ability to use their preferred attacking pattern of their No 10 looping into the midfield.
Also, the combined weight and power of Whitelock, Brodie Retallick and Barrett was a factor in the All Blacks getting the better of the Irish scrum and ensuring they never had a steady and dominant platform from which they could attack.
Switching Barrett back to lock and introducing Ioane superficially makes sense but carries the deeper risk of the All Blacks conceding the key advantages that were instrumental in their Eden Park win.
Ioane, for all his athletic gifts, has not yet shown he can be an aerial force at the tail of the lineout or a destructive tackling machine in the same mould as Barrett.
The alternative option of fast-tracking Tuipulotu into the starting team carries more of a perceived rather than real risk.
The issue is that Tuipulotu has spent this year in Japan and there will be question marks about his readiness to play a test having not once been on the field during Super Rugby.
But he's come home in the best physical condition of his life, leaner after a season exposed to the higher aerobic demands of rugby in Japan and he did train with the All Blacks for much of last week.
At 2.02m and 128kg he brings size, presence and power – precisely the qualities the All Blacks need if they are to again get the better of Ireland physically.
There's an element of the unknown about picking Tuipulotu but it seems to make better sense to try to get 50 hard, physical minutes out of him before unleashing the more athletic Ioane to see if he can inject some pace and width into the All Blacks attack.
The situation is genuinely intriguing and will provide a deeper insight into the inner workings of the minds of the All Blacks' coaching team.
Retaining Barrett at six for this weekend's test would be a strong and clear statement that he is now the preferred option for that role.
Keeping him there would say that the All Blacks have made up their minds that with the clock ticking down towards the next World Cup, they want to maximise the game time they give Barrett on the side of the scrum to help him familiarise himself with the nuances and operational differences.