There's an impatience about Jack Goodhue that the All Blacks have noted and enjoyed.

He's a young man who knows what he wants - to be the regular occupant of the All Blacks No 13 jersey.

He'll wear it for the first time tonight but the expectation is that will be it for a while as the more experienced Ryan Crotty will take possession back for the Bledisloe Cup.

That expectation is based mostly on the qualities of Crotty. The 29-year-old has stuck to his knitting these past few years and developed the confidence to be a high impact contributor.


There's more than dependability to Crotty's game - he's a line breaker and decision-maker and it doesn't feel that a changing of the midfield guard is imminent.

But that's the thing with the All Blacks, certainly in the past decade or so - selection change hasn't been driven by a loss of form.

More often than not, change has been driven by an emerging youngster who makes an irresistible case for inclusion either from the bench or in the injury absence of the incumbent.

The incumbent is often playing well, doing all that is asked, but the new kid catches the imagination by playing at a different level.

It happens unexpectedly and quickly. Not many foresaw how the vastly experienced and brilliantly performing Mils Muliaina would be caught on the line as it were by the emerging Israel Dagg. Muliaina, a World Rugby Player of the Year nominee in 2010, was surpassed by the 23-year-old Dagg who was the All Blacks' first choice fullback just nine months later at the World Cup.

Nehe Milner-Skudder emerged from nowhere to make the 2015 World Cup squad ahead of the hugely admired Cory Jane, and in 2016, Aaron Cruden was looking at a prolonged stint in the No 10 jersey but injured himself and barely had another run in it as Beauden Barrett took his chance so well, he ended the season as World Player of the Year.

Of all the new men in this year's squad, Goodhue stands out as the one who could make a similar dramatic impact and the one who could become a regular starter.

Sonny Bill Williams and Crotty are the preferred midfield pairing for now but that might not be the case by the end of the year.

There's just this hint, a sense even, that All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has been particularly taken with what he has seen from Goodhue with the New Zealand under-20s, Northland, Crusaders and All Blacks last year in the non-cap game in Lyon.

"He's a very mature young man," says Hansen. "There is no doubt about that. He's - I don't want to use the word overconfident - but he's got plenty of confidence and it is justified.

"It is just an inner belief as to who he is as a person and I think that reflects in how he plays.

"We think he is a good player and he has shown that over the seasons for the various teams he has played for. He's in a position where there is a bit of a logjam given there are five here and Vince Aso and Matt Proctor banging on the door as well.

"He's had to be patient. He's probably not the patient type - he's in a hurry to go somewhere, which is what I love about him. But having to learn that patience has been good for him."

Hansen has long been a believer that self-confidence and self-awareness are key attributes for young players to develop.

Those who know who they are as people tend to express themselves better as players and Goodhue is unusually cognisant that rugby is a game he plays rather than it being what defines him. He, perhaps unlike many of his peers, seems to understand the distinction between being a good rugby player and a good person and how being one doesn't automatically lead to the other.

He's actively involved with the Salvation Army but perhaps the confidence Goodhue feels is built on the fact he never pinned all his hopes on making a living out of the game.

He left Mt Albert Grammar to study agriculture at Lincoln University because he knew a rugby career was a maybe, a farming career a definite.

"I think it was always something I wanted," he says of a professional rugby career. "I wasn't building my self-worth around it. If it didn't happen, I wasn't going to be devastated, and I had back-up plans and ideas about what would happen.

"I didn't get picked for the New Zealand Barbarians or Secondary Schools and I knew there were some good players out there. I thought I deserved to make the Barbarians but it is such a hard team to select at that age because you have so many schools and so few selectors, they are never going to get it right all the time.

"I just thought I would carry on doing what I was doing and players develop at different ages. You've got guys who can be fully grown men at 18 playing schoolboy rugby and when you have that contrast, they are going to dominate at that age.

"I didn't think too much of it. I thought I would just work on my skills and keep going. My dream really was to play for Northland and I really would have been content with that, so to make the All Blacks..."

Knowing there is a big, bad world outside of rugby has most likely been a factor why Goodhue plays with such clarity in his decision-making and it is most obvious in the way he distributes.

"Jack Goodhue is probably as good as you get at putting someone into space," said Hansen when asked what he liked in his new-look midfield.

Goodhue has all he needs to get to where he wants to be and by the final whistle tonight, he will most likely have taken a giant step towards getting there.