The last time there was a real, game changing, influx of new All Blacks was in 2012, Steve Hansen's first year as head coach.
It was probably the greatest group of new boys in the game's history, including Beauden Barrett, Aaron Smith, Sam Cane, Brodie Retallick, Dane Coles, and Julian Savea, all of whom would be key men in the World Cup-winning All Black team of 2015.
So, who amongst Ian Foster's new boys is likely to be a superstar at the next World Cup in 2023 in France? Three stand out.
Hoskins Sotutu: The Auckland No 8 offers not just size and grunt, but a lot of the skills his father, Waisake, used to show in 85 games at three-quarters for Auckland in the 1990s. Not only is Hoskins a dynamic runner with the ball, the 22-year-old showed in Super Rugby Aotearoa that when it's needed he can tactically kick like a five-eighths.
Cullen Grace: Amazing to realise that the man with the concrete shoulders doesn't turn 21 until December. Schoolboy stars, as Grace was when he played for three years in the Timaru Boys' High School First XV, don't always kick on when they start playing against older, tough, wily men. It can be especially hard when the young guy is a forward. Grace, first in a Crusaders development group when he was 16, is a thundering, ball carrying, lethal tackling, exception to that rule.
Will Jordan: Pressure doesn't seem to faze Jordan, and although he's in one of the most crowded, competitive areas in our game, the back three, the combination of accuracy, judgement and speed he brings to the plate mark him as a real find for the future.
Now five other talking points from Saturday night's game, and the All Black announcement.
There's a good reason the phrase "an embarrassment of riches" was coined
Who would like to have to choose between Beauden Barrett and Richie Mo'unga? Go through a checklist from ability to read a game, to sheer speed, to bravery under fire, and we're talking fractions.
It's the All Blacks' good fortune to currently have available the two best first-fives in the world. But for Foster and his selectors, deciding who gets to start at first-five is going to be the toughest of calls for the foreseeable future.
That shout of delight heard in Mangere on Sunday morning was from the Ioane house
Declaration of interest. Akira and Rieko Ioane's parents, Sandra and Eddie, are friends, two of the most likeable people you could ever meet.
Nevertheless, I don't believe it's personal bias that makes me believe the selection of both their sons is one of the more heartwarming redemption sporting stories of the year. We saw enough in the inter-island game, as did the selectors, to know that the form both Ioane brothers showed in Super Rugby was no mirage.
Weird, but not as bizarre as 1985
Yes, it feels, to put it mildly, very unusual that an All Black squad has been named without anyone knowing for sure who they might be playing.
The circumstances pale though, compared to what happened in 1985, when, on the Saturday afternoon of July 13, just four days before the All Blacks were due to fly to South Africa for a full tour, an injunction from the High Court in Wellington was granted, and the tour was off. What followed, in October, was what was then considered a massively over-staffed (with 30 players), seven-game tour of Argentina. Then, in 1986, came an unauthorised tour of South Africa, by a team called the Cavaliers, which included 27 of the players originally selected for the '85 African tour.
Covid 19 has made whatever happens next for the All Blacks a mystery, but it least there won't be the bitterness that came from both sides of the argument in '85.
Yet more proof that rugby is a team game
On paper the North looked slightly stronger in Wellington, but the game itself showed what an advantage it was to have six out of the starting eight forwards being Crusaders who had just played a successful season together.
Tom Sanders, Tom Christie, and Mitchell Dunshea didn't get the All Black nod, but they were dynamic, and hugely co-ordinated, especially at lineout time when another Crusader, Codie Taylor, was throwing to them. For most of the game the South had the edge up front.
The match itself was fun to watch, even if the stands were deserted, with some terrific tries scored. But in the end there was one team, the North, that felt like an old style All Black trial side, and one, the South, playing like a smooth running machine.
So, yes, it was probably inevitable a Crusader would score the winning try
When Will Jordan soared about Mitch Hunt to catch a beautifully placed kick from Josh Ioane, and dive over for the last gasp victory for the South there was almost a karmic tough about it.
And, if any confirmation was needed that the South players really wanted the win, then the leaping, laughing and hugging celebrations from his teammates after Jordan's effort surely provided it.