The selection poser for the All Blacks this week in Japan will be trying to work out how much game time their newly returned contingent of formerly wounded warriors will be able to handle.

The All Blacks have welcomed back Dane Coles, Brodie Retallick, Liam Squire and Joe Moody and when all are game fit and seasoned, they would be definite starters.

And that's the question the selectors have been trying to answer in the last couple of days – how ready are these four and the newly returned Nepo Laulala to take on the Wallabies?

The answer in the case of Retallick and Squire is easy enough. The former hasn't had a huge amount of rugby in the last four months having been out for six weeks with a broken bone in his chest and then another with six with a damaged shoulder.


But he's proven he's in possession of a huge engine and the coaches will be prepared to back him to start and hope to get a solid 60 minutes to 65 minutes out of him alongside Sam Whitelock.

[Read more: Why All Black lock Sam Whitelock is thinking about Japan sabbatical]

Squire has missed only the last two tests and should be restored to the number six jersey, with the in-form Ardie Savea surely winning a rare start at No 7 after two impressive performances against Argentina and South Africa.

Moody, who missed nearly all of the Rugby Championship with a broken thumb, will most likely also start at loose-head with the plan to run him for a half to 45 minutes before bringing on Karl Tu'inukuafe.

Coles is a trickier question to answer. He only returned to action two weeks ago after last playing against France in November 2017.

Matt Todd and Ardie Savea run through drills at an All Blacks training session in Tokyo, Japan. Photo / Getty
Matt Todd and Ardie Savea run through drills at an All Blacks training session in Tokyo, Japan. Photo / Getty

He's made two appearances for Wellington in the last 12 months. The coaches are eager to get him into action and that probably means they will start with him in Yokohama.

The danger of putting him on the bench is that if there is an injury in the first minute, then they would be asking him to go for 79.

That's too much of a risk and like Moody, they will probably see if they can get 45 minutes out of Coles or maybe more before they inject Codie Taylor.

"They have only been with us a couple of days but they have had quite a few minutes in the last couple of weeks with Wellington and Counties respectively and they came through that well," All Blacks coach Ian Foster said in specific respect to Coles and Laulala.

"That is the ultimate test isn't it – whether they can come through a game and come out the other side with that particular injury they have been rehabbing and not feel any effects. They are travelling well."

[Read more: Balance of power shifts between All Blacks hookers Dane Coles and Codie Taylor]

Foster also went on to be clear that the All Blacks intent is to start their tour with a convincing performance – and from that it is a fair assumption that they will throw most or all of their heavy artillery at the Wallabies in Yokohama.

There's a further clue that we can expect a full force All Blacks selection which is that 22 players are heading to London mid-way through next week to get a jump on preparing for England.

Probably the All Blacks will be looking for selection consistency in the tests against Australia, England and Ireland – with the odd tweak to cater for form, fatigue and strategy – with significant changes coming in the Japan and Italy tests.

The most important thing, though, is to start the tour well said Foster. "A lot of it is really about our mindset it is an All Black-Australian test isn't it and if you focus on the trophy well the trophy is already in the cabinet.

"But if we focus on this being a typical test against Australia and we all saw how much it meant to them in Brisbane last year and they obviously played really well and we didn't play as well as we wanted to.

"The beauty of this one is that it is test one of a tour and it is really important for us that we start well because we have got some more games coming up and you really don't want to be having to try to rebound from a poor performance in game one."

Possible All Blacks team to play Australia:

15: Ben Smith, 14: Waisake Naholo, 13: Ryan Crotty, 12: Sonny Bill Williams, 11: Rieko Ioane, 10: Beauden Barrett, 9: Aaron Smith, 8: Kieran Read, 7: Ardie Savea, 6: Liam Squire, 5: Sam Whitelock, 4: Brodie Retallick, 3: Owen Franks, 2: Dane Coles, 1: Joe Moody.

16: Codie Taylor, 17: Karl Tu'inukuafe, 18: Nepo Laulala, 19: Scott Barrett, 20: Matt Todd, 21: TJ Perenara, 22: Richie Mo'unga, 23: Anton Lienert-Brown.