Bledisloe 1 feels like it might be a job for Jack and Jordie. Goodhue and Barrett that is – the former at centre the other at fullback.

There's not much mystery about the All Blacks' likely personnel in Sydney. Wallabies coach Michael Cheika will have worked out, because it is quite staggeringly obvious, what the All Blacks pack will look like.

There's not one sticky selection in the pack at the moment with Dane Coles not ready to play yet. And even when he does return, he'll most likely usurp Codie Taylor and picking the pack will be just as simple then as it is now.

All the hoopla about Richie Mo'unga was understandable but misguided as Beauden Barrett is head and shoulders the nation's best first-five and never once would Cheika have thought that the All Blacks would pick anyone other than their senior man at No 10 and partner him with Aaron Smith.


Ryan Crotty, Rieko Ioane and Ben Smith all start, of course they do, and that takes us back to Goodhue and Barrett.

A bit like the Mo'unga hype, the prospect of Ioane playing at centre was equally misguided and he will revert to the left wing and Crotty will slip into his favoured No 12 jersey in the absence of Sonny Bill Williams.

So the mystery comes down to who plays centre and whether to select Smith at wing or fullback. The options at centre are Goodhue and Anton Lienert-Brown. It's not a bad choice to have.

The latter has played 24 tests, mostly impressively and was in obviously good form towards the end of Super Rugby.

Lienert-Brown is a smart player: thoughtful and creative with a range of distribution methods that are forever surprising. He's played a bit, too, with Crotty and they have gelled well.

But Lienert-Brown hasn't played with Crotty nearly as much as Goodhue has and the All Blacks may well find it too hard to resist using a Crusaders combination that has been a critical piece of weaponry in their back-to-back titles.

It's not just the combination that appeals either. Goodhue made his debut in the final test against France and looked about as composed and certain as anyone can in their first test.

Defensively rock solid, the trump card in Goodhue's portfolio is his ability to exploit a two-on-one and the All Blacks have made it a focus this year to be more clinical in their finishing.


"He's a young man who is getting better and better and that is what you need and what you expect," said assistant coach Ian Foster of Goodhue.

"He came through a Super Rugby campaign where he was used extremely physically in the first part of the championship and then I think as it wore on he was able to play a little bit wider and a little bit how we would expect a centre to play.

"He's got the ability to do both and we spent a little bit of time with him in June and saw him settle in and I thought he played pretty well outside Sonny in the French test. He's playing well and it just adds to the puzzle."

The puzzle, of course being how to piece together the backline. If Goodhue's distribution makes it tempting to opt for the finishing power of Waisake Naholo on the right wing with Smith at fullback, the aerial prowess of Wallabies fullback Israel Folau counters that.

Australia are going to use the athleticism of Folau and Barrett, at 1.95m, is the best equipped to nullify that threat.

With Smith and Barrett in the back three, the All Blacks have two assured and skilled aerial operators while Ioane, at 1.94m is adept in that area as well.

That back three feels like it has the right balance to face the Wallabies, but as Foster says, the make-up of the outside backs and midfield has occupied much of their thinking.

"They are two competitive areas and that is a nice situation to have. We have spent a lot of time discussing it and looking at players what they are bringing coming into this and their form in June and subsequently the last part of Super Rugby season.

"We are pretty pleased with the depth we are growing but the key thing is to get the group working and to make sure that the midfielders are working with each other so whoever goes out in the park does the job. We are going to spent a bit if time looking at the strengths and weaknesses we have got."