The All Blacks, minus the Crusaders contingent, head into training camp tomorrow and it will be worthwhile keeping an eye on who is invited as previous get-togethers have thrown out big clues about who the selectors are considering for future selection.

This year there is particular relevance as with two games and three tests in November, the All Blacks intend to take 37 players with them to Europe and have a proper look at a handful of emerging players.

Presumably the coaches will take the opportunity to bring some of those players on the far range of their radar into camp so they can start the process of embedding them into the systems and game plans.

Also, given the intense nature of the Rugby Championship, the All Blacks will end up having to call in reinforcements from outside their original squad and it pays to have a wider group having had some kind of exposure rather than be thrown in cold.


There's also been a couple of departures - and a few more pending - from the squad that was picked to play the Lions, with Charlie Faumuina and Aaron Cruden already in France and Tawera Kerr-Barlow and Malakai Fekitoa making their way after the Mitre 10 Cup.

The names, then, that may potentially crop up tomorrow could be a mix of players who have previously had a taste with a few entirely new to the set-up.

Nepo Laulala, who played a few tests in 2015, is someone likely to be invited to the Christchurch camp, with his Chiefs teammate, Kane Hames who played a test in Sydney last year also a strong possibility.

Charlie Ngatai, now that he is putting his injury and concussion troubles behind him, is another who may well be brought back into the frame as he was, arguably, the form midfielder in 2016 until he suffered a major head knock that kept him out of action for the better part of a year.

Luke Whitelock may also be rewarded with an invitation as the Highlanders No 8 has answered many of the questions that were asked of him in the last 12 months.

He has proven he has the physical will and ability to impose himself and play with the presence the selectors like to see from their loose forwards.

Against the British and Irish Lions this year, Whitelock put in a first class defensive effort that was remarkable not just for the number of tackles he made, but also the quality.

If the selectors do look to pull in a few untried players, top of the list might be Blues wing Matt Duffie, whose kick and chase skills are ideally suited to the current nature of test football.


He had a strong campaign with the Blues and his maturity and composure are assets the All Blacks know they can make good use of.

Others who may come into contention are Hurricanes halfback Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, who is a former New Zealand under-20 player and built much to the same dimensions as Aaron Smith with a similar fast pass skill-set.

Highlanders lock Jackson Hemopo has had little game time but impressed with his strength and mobility when he has been involved and his performance against the Lions signalled he may be equipped to play at a higher level.