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Maybe, finally, we could again witness the All Blacks' first-choice midfield pairing this week.

It's been a long wait, late June to be exact, since Sonny Bill Williams and Jack Goodhue enjoyed their sole gallop together.

Four months on, a degree of unfamiliarity may exist should they, indeed, be handed their second start against England.


Circumstances have conspired against the All Blacks giving these two more time this year; the latest instance of glandular fever forcing Goodhue out of the final Bledisloe in Yokohama.

"There was a bit of fatigue at the end of last week so he's had a couple of really good days of training and looks like he's 100 per cent," All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster said.

"He trained full on today so if he recovers well that means we've got four midfielders ready and available."

A headline test at Twickenham may be the perfect place to assess their World Cup readiness, not that Foster was giving anything away.

"Our midfield now is jumping out of their skin. The last two weeks we've probably seen the energy levels and work-rate in that group as good as it's been all year. Then you put Ngani's performance in Tokyo into that mix and that creates its own degree of pressure so it's a nice place to be.

"Sonny has had the least rugby and is probably still finding his top form. I think that's a fair thing to say. I've been delighted with the way the four of them are working well together. They spend a lot of time discussing the game and growing the collective part of the midfield."

It's not the first time Goodhue's health proved problematic.

This time last year Goodhue debuted in a mid-week match in Lyon but missed the start of that tour, too, after being struck down with the mumps.


Since then, though, the 23-year-old Northlander has been an irresistible force at centre for the repeat championship-winning Crusaders.

While the All Blacks have plenty of options in the midfield, with Ryan Crotty, Anton Lienert-Brown and Ngani Laumape, who collected three tries against Japan last week, all performing well, Williams and Goodhue are now probably viewed as the premier pairing.

The only catch is we haven't seen quite enough of them as a combination to be sure.