Everyone loves a comeback. It's one of the reasons why so many wanted veteran midfielder Ma'a Nonu to return to the All Blacks last year for a final hurrah in a black jersey after he last wore one in the 2015 Rugby World Cup final.
While a romantic notion, another test cap for a man who has already collected 103 of them was always going to be a stretch because of the depth in his position; even blockbusting 26-year-old Ngani Laumape failed to make the World Cup squad for Japan.
Laumape, a man committed to New Zealand Rugby, was ranked behind Ryan Crotty, Jack Goodhue, Sonny Bill Williams and Anton Lienert-Brown, so Nonu, who was only ever going to play one season back in New Zealand, needed a couple of injuries at least in order to get to Japan.
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It's no secret that the All Blacks selectors are always going to back players who intend to remain here over those who intend to leave - which brings us to Aaron Cruden and the possibility of his return to the All Blacks following his time with Montpellier in France.
He has certainly played well for the Chiefs after his two-year absence, although calling him the form Kiwi No 10 may be slightly premature given the season is only two matches long and incumbent All Black Richie Mo'unga didn't play last weekend due to groin and knee issues.
At 31, Cruden is still relatively young and he clearly hasn't lost any of his tactical acumen – in fact that may have improved during his time overseas in a different environment. Being out of your comfort zone can have that effect.
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But the major barrier to an All Black return is that he is unlikely to remain in New Zealand after this year. He is likely to replace Dan Carter as Kobe's No 10 and if that is the case the selection of Cruden in an extended squad for the July tests against Wales and Scotland and early part of the Rugby Championship over the likes of Josh Ioane or even his Highlanders teammate Mitch Hunt would be a major surprise.
The All Blacks' first-five options this year will be Mo'unga, Beauden Barrett and Damian McKenzie. That's a healthy state of affairs.
Should Ian Foster stay with the dual playmaker strategy of Mo'unga at No 10 and Barrett at fullback, with McKenzie a high impact replacement for either player, then Ioane would come into the frame as Mo'unga's specialist back-up.
Picking Cruden ahead of Ioane - a 24-year-old who developed enormously last year in playing a first test against Tonga and remaining in a state of readiness to go to the World Cup in the event of injury - for tests which appear ideally suited to continuing that development, would seem extremely odd if not a reversal of the All Blacks' previous policy.
There's little doubt Cruden is still good, but, at this early point of the year at least, it's time to keep backing youth. To do otherwise could force them to look elsewhere and in the current environment that's definitely not what New Zealand Rugby wants.