Similar to the nuns at the start of the Sound of Music, the All Blacks coaches are pondering how they solve a problem like Julian Savea.

The giant wing is fitter than he's ever been and yet, despite fixing what has previously been the root cause of his form issues, he's seemingly further now from All Blacks selection than he's ever been.

With two power wings in Rieko Ioane and Waisake Naholo ensconced in the squad and a third, Seta Tamanivalu strongly tipped to be called up, there's little expectation that Savea will be named in the All Blacks end-of-year tour party.

He's probably going to be overlooked for Matt Duffie, with the Blues wing bringing a supremely good aerial skillset and all round football awareness that marks him out as a deputy of sorts to Ben Smith.


Should this be confirmed tomorrow, not to panic Jules -- this doesn't mean the end-of-your-career speech will come from the All Blacks.

Give him a full pre-season and see what happens in 2018 will be the official line and given the number of times such sage advice has proven to be spot on -- Israel Dagg and Aaron Smith most significantly -- it would be rash to dismiss the possibility of this turning out to be the case with Savea.

Maybe he will roar back into life next year. Who knows, it could all click for him again and Savea could be recast as the daddy of power wings -- an impossibly damaging force with the capacity to run over the top of almost everyone.

But for all that it invites a healthy smattering of egg on face to bet against Savea, it is hard to buy the revival story. More precisely, it is hard to envisage a scenario where he will once again become a regular All Blacks pick on the wing.

He presumably at the moment sits an indecently long way down the pecking order.

Ben Smith, Israel Dagg, Jordie Barrett and Nehe Milner-Skudder are not available to tour Europe and Savea isn't expected to make the 37-man squad.

When the All Blacks revert to picking a 30-33-man squad as they will for the June tests and Rugby Championship next year, the business of making the cut will be even harder.

Smith, Dagg and Barrett are probably non-negotiable as is Rieko Ioane -- a 20-year-old speed freak who is only going to get better between now and the World Cup.

Of course the situation is fluid but for Savea to come back into the reckoning he's going to have to make an ultra compelling case because there is already one locked-in power wing and there may not be room in the squad for another.

And if there is Savea will be competing for that place with Waisake Naholo and Tamanivalu. He hasn't been able to get past them this year and it's hard to foresee what is going to happen next year to change things.

Which makes for a semi-awkward situation as Savea is one of the highest paid players in the country with another two years to run on his contract.

When he signed a four-year extension in 2015 it was hailed as one of the most significant signings since Dan Carter and Richie McCaw agreed to four-year extensions in 2011.

Savea was viewed as the sort of player whose loyalty would breed loyalty in others.

At the time he began negotiations, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen had recently said he felt Savea was a better wing than Jonah Lomu.

It was a big statement but hardly far-fetched.

Savea was scoring tries for fun at the time, defending aggressively, catching high balls and working so hard off the ball that he deserved to be considered a better wing than Lomu.

But three years on and that has all changed. The magic has gone, temporarily the New Zealand Rugby Union hopes, otherwise they have close to $2 million tied up in the wrong man.