Hurricane Vince Aso could be called into the All Blacks squad as cover for Ryan Crotty as the selectors survey the collateral damage following their dominant performance against the Wallabies in Sydney.

The team have one hand on the Bledisloe Cup but will have to finish the job with different personnel at Eden Park next Saturday, although there are unlikely to be too many changes to the pack, who turned the screw mercilessly on the Wallabies at ANZ Stadium.

Either Anton Lienert-Brown or Ngani Laumape will start in the No 12 jersey alongside the excellent Jack Goodhue, with a change also needed on the left wing following Rieko Ioane's grade hamstring strain which will sideline him for two weeks.

Coach Steve Hansen, an admirer of the uncapped Aso, said in the aftermath of the 38-13 victory that he would make inquiries into the health of the 23-year-old who has performed strongly for the Hurricanes over the past two seasons.


Aso has a wrist injury, which could complicate matters. If he is unavailable the All Blacks are likely to back themselves to get through without him. Sonny Bill Williams remains out with a shoulder injury, leaving only three fit midfielders.

Nehe Milner-Skudder will come into the frame as Ioane's replacement after successfully getting through Manawatu's victory over Waikato, with Ben Smith a possibility to move to the wing from fullback which would allow either Damian McKenzie or Jordie Barrett to start in the No 15 jersey.

Right wing Waisake Naholo left the pitch with a sore shoulder but the prognosis is good and he should be available to play at Eden Park and is likely to if fit after a stand-out performance in which he bagged two tries and had the Aussies in fits with his pace and probing runs.

Ryan Crotty with the doctor. Photo / Photosport
Ryan Crotty with the doctor. Photo / Photosport

There were many good stories for Hansen to reflect on, including the storming performance on his comeback from lock Brodie Retallick and skipper Kieran Read's sustained excellence on his own return, plus the composed performance from midfielder Goodhue in only his second test, but the head coach thought Naholo, in particular, had a breakout performance.

"I thought he stood up last night and had the best game he's had in an All Black jersey," Hansen said. "He carried well, particularly early when we didn't have a lot of room down that side.

"A number of times he carried close to the line, stayed in, kept the ball alive. He's great in the wide rucks – one of the reason why we picked him is we thought they'd be opportunities out there. He got in and turned ball over.

"One of the tries we scored was directly from that. He ran with real purpose and will build a lot of confidence out of that.

"He's played like that for the Highlanders for some time. I think he's one of those guys who takes a bit of time to be comfortable at the next level. Last night he knew he had to have a good one and he did and hopefully that's a catalyst for him to go on and continue to do so."


There was a feeling before this test that Goodhue, 23, was on the brink of a standout performance after his debut against France in Dunedin in June and he didn't disappoint. His defence was tidy as usual but he continually damaged the Wallabies with his straight running and distribution skills and none of it was a surprise to Hansen.

Asked if Goodhue's development had been quick, he said: "When you think about it, though, it hasn't been that quick. He's been in as a replacement player, he's been around the environment a long time. He's got the bonus of being a Crusader where you're rubbing shoulders with the boss (Read) and feeling comfortable being around those big-time players so I think that helps that process a little bit.

"He's only played two tests and I think he's done really well in those two tests. If you just look at that you think 'wow, he's arrived quickly'. But when you dig deeper and look at the work we've done with him and the patience we've shown, I think we're getting the reward for that."