Another world championship for the New Zealand under-20 side is likely to fast-track the careers of at least two of their players.

Top of the list is Julian Savea, the Wellington wing who was named IRB Junior Player of the Year after equalling Zac Guildford's record of eight tries in the tournament.

New Zealand captain Tyler Bleydenaal was short-listed for the same award - won last year by Aaron Cruden, the year before by Luke Braid and by Robbie Fruean in 2007.

Bleydenaal, a first five from Canterbury very much in the Dan Carter mould of tactical nous and accuracy, scored 82 points and was at the heart of everything in the 62-17 win against Australia in the final.

Two weeks ago they were virtual unknowns. Now the careers of Savea and Bleydenaal as well as those of the youngest Whitelock brother, Luke, and Tawera Kerr-Barlow will take on a new complexion. They are very much on the radar.

The under-20 team has become an incubator for the All Blacks. Last year Guildford starred for them in June and made his All Black debut in November. Cruden led his side to glory and 12 months later replaced Carter against Ireland.

Isaia Toeava was under-19 Player of the Year in June 2005, a performance so convincing the All Blacks called him up for their Grand Slam tour that year. It's reached the stage now where there is enough faith in the under-20 set-up to believe those who star at that level are capable of playing test football shortly after.

Savea, by most accounts, has the talent. At almost 100kg and with the confidence to run hard and back himself, he can be an enormous handful either at centre or on the wing.

But Wellington backs coach Andre Bell will be labouring the point that he will need more than just talent to crack the next level. Having played for New Zealand Schools in 2008 and New Zealand Sevens in 2009, Savea was called into the Wellington pre-season squad.

"We found a couple of deficiencies in his game that we picked up in our training camp," says Bell. "Making the Sevens squad thrust him into the limelight and everything was happening for him. He struggled a bit with the training and discipline routines."

He played that season for Wellington Colts and then failed to make the initial under-20 New Zealand squad because, while physically big, his strength and conditioning was not all it could have been and he was behind in tactical appreciation and mental fortitude.

"That was a good thing," says Bell. "He needed to learn how to come back from failure and to understand that it wasn't enough to be talented. He came back leaner, fitter and faster and if he can continue the way he is, then he's got a good chance of making our squad."

Bleydenaal is a product of Christchurch Boys' High - as were Andrew Mehrtens and Carter - and could probably have made national age-grade sides for cricket. His talent, says Canterbury's academy manager Matt Sexton, is supported by a developing tactical awareness. Bleydenaal is also said to be a strong-minded young man who will deal with the expectation he now carries.

"I don't think he's the kind of player who will look at what Cruden achieved and then say to himself that he has to do the same," says Sexton. "He's his own man and he knows where he is at. Sometimes we can push players too quickly and there is an old saying that the quicken they ripen, the quicker they rot. Tyler is aware of that. He's a grounded young man."

With Stephen Brett expected to see out the ITM Cup with Canterbury, opportunities for Bleydenaal could be limited this year. But Sexton says there is no rush for Bleydenaal to crack the professional game.

That same attitude will be applied to Luke Whitelock whose brothers George and Sam are already All Blacks. He played at blindside in Argentina. He took a gap year last year, coaching and helping out at a British school, and is now building a professional career.

"He's got all the qualities to play at the highest level," says Sexton. "But there are some strength and conditioning areas as well as tactical and technical work that we need to do."

Kerr-Barlow is the Waikato halfback who caused Auckland infinite problems with his pace, step and ability to pass out the back of his hand. He'll battle Brendon Leonard for the starting spot and some who feel he may come close to taking it.