In picking 51 players for a giant squad which will be together, albeit briefly, in Japan, the All Blacks selectors have gone deep into the nation's professional playing roster - so much so that skipper Kieran Read hasn't met them all yet.
Uncapped Auckland loose forward Dalton Papali'i is the main beneficiary because he has been named in the main squad of 32 which will travel to Yokohama to play Australia in the dead-rubber Bledisloe Cup test a week on Saturday, but following closely behind is another openside flanker, Matt Todd, a man whom presumably thought his All Black dream was over for the year once he signed for Japan club Panasonic.
But, in what coach Steve Hansen sees as a needs-must scenario in the wake of Sam Cane's neck injury, Hansen has successfully argued that Todd should receive a dispensation and be available to play England at Twickenham and Ireland in Dublin. New Zealand Rugby's board (and Panasonic coach Robbie Deans) agreed.
"There's been no change of heart," Hansen said today regarding the selection of Todd despite him not playing in New Zealand. "He's committed to New Zealand rugby. When we lost Sam Cane - he's the obvious guy to replace Sam. He's very much in the mix for next year's World Cup."
Todd won't be available to play the Wallabies, Japan in Tokyo, or Italy in Rome, the latter the final All Blacks' test of the year, which leaves the door open for Papali'i, a standout for the Blues this year when fit, to make his test debut.
A separate squad of 19 other players, which includes seven other uncapped players, will join the main group in Yokohama ahead of the test against Japan in Tokyo. Several, but not all, will also be in line to win their first caps, including, potentially, the previously unheralded Taranaki prop Reuben O'Neill.
A group of 22 front-liners will leave Yokohama for London on November 1 (the Thursday before the Japan test) to prepare for the test against England, leaving 29 to fight it out for places in the match-day 23 against Japan. The squad of 51 will be together for only four days.
Hansen sees Papali'i as someone capable of playing at openside or blindside. The 21-year-old's good form for the Blues this year has continued with Auckland, who finished the regular season as the Premiership's top qualifiers.
Papali'i is a powerful player with the requisite workrate, ball skills and defensive ability, but offers a point of difference to both Cane and Todd because he is significantly taller than both and slightly heavier too.
The presence in the squad of the 30-year-old Todd, who has played 14 tests, will probably raise eyebrows for its apparent elasticity of the current All Black selection criteria but for skipper Read, who admitted to not having met many of the newer faces in the squad, it was quite straightforward.
"Toddy's a crucial part of this team; he had an opportunity to go to Japan and he's done that but he's fully committed to New Zealand next year," Read said. "He's fully in the mix for next year's World Cup. He's someone who has put in performances at the highest level and a great one to have for this tour."
Of the players to miss out, few were unluckier than loose forwards Shannon Frizell, who has a shoulder injury, and the uncapped Jordan Taufua, who has an arm problem.
Midfielder Jack Goodhue has glandular fever and won't be available for the Wallabies test. Ngani Laumape will cover for him.
Wellington hooker Dane Coles and Canterbury prop Joe Moody, who are both returning from injury, will be available to play in their teams' Mitre 10 Cup semifinals this week before travelling to Japan.
All Blacks 32-man squad ( age, province and Test caps in brackets):
Dane Coles (31, Wellington, 56)
Nathan Harris (26, Bay of Plenty, 18)
Codie Taylor (27, Canterbury, 38)
Owen Franks (30, Canterbury, 103)
Nepo Laulala (27, Counties Manukau, 13)
Joe Moody (30, Canterbury, 36)
Karl Tu'inukuafe (25, North Harbour, 9)
Ofa Tuungafasi (26, Auckland, 22)
Scott Barrett (23, Taranaki, 14)
Brodie Retallick (27, Hawke's Bay, 71)
Patrick Tuipulotu (25, Auckland, 19)
Samuel Whitelock (30, Canterbury, 105)
Vaea Fifita (26, Wellington, 7)
Dalton Papalii (21, Auckland, uncapped)
Kieran Read, captain (32, Counties Manukau, 114)
Ardie Savea (25, Wellington, 31)
Liam Squire (27, Tasman, 20)
Matt Todd (30, Canterbury, 14)
TJ Perenara (26, Wellington, 51)
Aaron Smith (28, Manawatu, 79)
Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi (23, Taranaki, 1)
Beauden Barrett (27, Taranaki, 69)
Damian McKenzie (23, Waikato, 19)
Richie Mo'unga (24, Canterbury, 4)
Ryan Crotty (30, Canterbury, 41)
Jack Goodhue (23, Northland, 5)
Anton Lienert-Brown (23, Waikato, 30)
Sonny Bill Williams (33, Counties Manukau, 49)
Jordie Barrett (21, Taranaki, 7)
Rieko Ioane (21, Auckland, 20)
Waisake Naholo (27, Taranaki, 24)
Ben Smith (32, Otago, 73)
In addition to the 32-man squad, the All Blacks selectors have also named a wider squad of 19 players, who will assemble in Japan following the Bledisloe Cup test to prepare for the Test against Japan.
Asafo Aumua (20, Wellington, uncapped, two non-Tests)
Liam Coltman (28, Otago, 3)
Tyrel Lomax (22, Tasman, uncapped)
Reuben O'Neill (23, Taranaki, uncapped)
Tim Perry (29, Tasman, 5)
Angus Ta'avao (28, Taranaki, 1)
Luke Romano (32, Canterbury, 31)
Jackson Hemopo (24, Manawatu, 2)
Gareth Evans (27, Hawke's Bay, uncapped)
Dillon Hunt (23, North Harbour, uncapped, one non-Test)
Luke Whitelock (27, Canterbury, 6)
Mitchell Drummond (24, Canterbury, uncapped, one non-Test)
Bryn Hall (26, North Harbour, uncapped)
Brett Cameron (21, Canterbury, uncapped)
Ngani Laumape (25, Manawatu, 8)
Matt Proctor (25, Wellington, uncapped)
George Bridge (23, Canterbury, uncapped)
David Havili (23, Tasman, 3)
Nehe Milner-Skudder (27, Manawatu, 12)