By JOHN DRAKE

The All Blacks have some tricky selection options open to them after two big test wins, and in four of the closest areas, Mark Hammett, Norm Maxwell, Scott Robertson and Byron Kelleher have the edge.

Anton Oliver looks to have sorted out his lineout throwing problems and scored two great tries against Scotland, but I would go back to Super 12 form and in a close decision I would have Hammett starting.

While the All Blacks have been very impressive, if there is one area to get picky, then it is still the lineouts and kick-off takes.

While Troy Flavell had a storming game against Tonga, the All Blacks are still going to need Maxwell's lineout ability, so it looks as though Flavell will have to be an impact man off the bench.

Maxwell impressed with his aggression against Scotland.

I like Robertson's aggressive defence and he has shown out as a good link man, while Josh Kronfeld didn't do an awful lot when he came on at Carisbrook.

And at halfback, Kelleher could probably still be regarded as the incumbent and Justin Marshall really needs to outshine him to take over.

Kelleher usually serves his first five-eighths reasonably well with his passing, and shows the ability to turn and go with his running, whereas Marshall does not run as much as he used to.

Marshall has had a couple of average years and it seems the right time for a change.

On the evidence of the weekend's games, New Zealand should go into the Tri-Nations series as favourites, but it was worrying that the All Blacks had only 50 per cent of possession and territory against Scotland.

They scored a lot of long-range tries and they won't get the same latitude to do that against South Africa and Australia.

And the Scots have not tested out other areas, such as Jonah Lomu's ability to get back on defence. At the moment he is doing what is asked of him and deserves to hold his place, but he is sure to face more testing tactics in the Tri-Nations.

But New Zealand appear to be playing on a slightly different level to the other two right now.

All Blacks test programme 2000