For the All Blacks, it's all about the bigger picture. While retaining the Bledisloe Cup this weekend would be ideal, every decision comes back to making the best of opportunities to win the World Cup.

And that's where Beauden Barrett's sacrifice comes in – and Ben Smith's for that matter.

The famous line in the oh-so topical film The Wrath of Khan (1982) says: "Logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one", and right now, the All Blacks need Barrett at fullback.


This isn't the 1999 decision to play Christian Cullen, the country's greatest ever fullback, in the midfield just to fit the best players into the starting XV. Barrett is a well-tested fullback, Ben Smith has performed at the elite level on the wing, and first five-eighth Richie Mo'unga is the best option of the All Blacks young guns to be thrust into the thick of things.

Jordie Barrett has a phenomenal boot on him, but still has a lot of polishing to do before he can be a first-choice option for the All Blacks. It's a similar case with Crusaders duo George Bridge and Sevu Reece, both future All Blacks stars, but still a bit fresh.

The All Blacks don't have the luxury of being absolutely stacked with experienced heads in every position as they had in 2015 and it would be a surprise if they chose to drop the young guys into the blender in the important games at the World Cup.

If they stick with the current plan, they won't have to.