Next year the new All Blacks coach will have two tests against Wales and one against Scotland to prepare for in July. Patrick McKendry names five young men who could be included in an extended squad ahead of the Rugby Championship and end-of-year tour.
Ngani Laumape (Hurricanes)
Really, the 26-year-old Laumape, who has played 13 tests, doesn't have much else to prove. He did everything in his power to get to the Rugby World Cup and in the end the selectors went for experience in Japan. It was a personal blow for him but it's unlikely that his presence in an under-pressure midfield would have made much difference during the semifinal defeat to England. Regardless, following the departures of Ryan Crotty and Sonny Bill Williams, Laumape will definitely be in the All Black midfield mix next year alongside Anton Lienert-Brown and Jack Goodhue, and possibly Braydon Ennor. Interestingly, Laumape, who made his test debut in 2017, has never played for the All Blacks alongside Goodhue.
Du'Plessis Kirifi (Hurricanes)
Matt Todd has gone and Ardie Savea may be groomed for the All Blacks No 8 role following the retirement of Kieran Read. This means the new head coach will be in the market for an openside flanker. The 22-year-old appears to have the pace to do the job. That was quickly apparent this year during his first season of Super Rugby, and he's clearly not scared of contact, either. While relatively short at 1.8m (but so was Todd and Savea is a similar height), and with a few rough edges to smooth, Kirifi is an exciting prospect. One of the more promising features is his ability to lead; he was Wellington's captain this season during his team's run to the Mitre 10 Cup final. That won't hurt his prospects.
Braydon Ennor (Crusaders)
Ennor, 22, made his All Black debut this year when he came off the reserves bench against Argentina in Buenos Aires. There are likely to be a lot more tests ahead for midfielder/wing. Following the departure of Ben Smith, Ennor is likely to be Sevu Reece's closest challenger for the All Blacks right wing position, but his preferred position is centre. With Laumape, Lienert-Brown, Goodhue and Ennor the likely options for two midfield positions, the new All Black coach could have some difficult decisions to make in this area. Ennor's greatest attribute is his pace, but his composure and ability to make good decisions has also been hugely impressive at the Crusaders. He is also rarely caught out defensively.
David Havili (Crusaders)
The 24-year-old, who played three tests for the All Blacks in 2017, has seen his chances of a return improve hugely following the retirement of Ben Smith, although Damian McKenzie (Chiefs) will also come into consideration once he rehabilitates the knee injury which kept him out of the World Cup. Havili has a good kicking game and his languid, deceptively quick running style has caught out many Super Rugby defenders over the last couple of years. He also led Tasman to a first Mitre 10 Cup championship victory this year. Havili, who played for the Barbarians in their recent match against Fiji at Twickenham said in an interview with the Herald in the days before: "The All Blacks are always in the back of my mind but I can only control how I play week in week out and enjoy my rugby. Hopefully I can have a good couple of weeks off and then get back firing for the 2020 season."
Jesse Parete (Highlanders)
The new All Blacks coach might like to see a few more good young locks coming through in order to challenge Scott Barrett, clearly in the ascendency as New Zealand's third best and a man putting pressure on Sam Whitelock and Brodie Retallick. Parete, 26, can also play loose forward, but it's at lock where he will likely get more opportunities – both at the Highlanders where he has moved from the Chiefs, and potentially higher than that. He has a big engine and brings "mongrel". The latter was an element sadly missing from the All Blacks' semifinal defeat to England. The English looked far more spooked against the Springboks in the final, and while that may have been down to nerves and an off-night, Eddie Jones' men looked far more comfortable fronting against the All Black pack.