With a clear idea of their best starting team and only a few contestable spots to finalise in the Rugby Championship squad, the All Blacks are content with progress as they approach significantly tougher tests.
Ian Foster will name his 36-man Rugby Championship squad tomorrow, with the front row and halfback likely to be the only major areas of debate.
Foster confirmed today Blues prop Ofa Tuungafasi will return from minor knee surgery that kept him out of the three July tests.
In a best-case scenario, Crusaders prop Joe Moody will recover from his foot surgery for round three of the Rugby Championship so the All Blacks may carry cover until he is available. Hurricanes prop Tyrel Lomax, and possibly impressive rookie Ethan de Groot, could be most at risk with Tuungafasi and Moody's imminent comebacks.
After returning from Japan and signing a new contract, TJ Perenara was ineligible for the All Blacks this month and instead turned out for Porirua club side Norths.
Whether the All Blacks bring him straight back into the mix, or elect to retain Blues halfback Finlay Christie and push Perenara to prove his fitness in a match or two with Wellington, will be one of the intriguing elements to their squad naming.
"TJ is eligible for selection," Foster said the morning after his side's 60-13 victory over Fiji in Hamilton. "He played one game of club rugby; he took a knock last week so he didn't play. We're going to have a look at his programme over the next four to five weeks and see what's the right way to reintroduce him to test match rugby."
Chiefs hooker Samisoni Taukei'aho could be the big mover – his two-try debut off the bench that featured typically powerful carries putting Foster on notice. Choosing between Taukei'aho and Hurricanes hooker Asafo Aumua shapes as the toughest decision Foster faces.
"He's been desperate for an opportunity and he's done what people dream of doing. When the door does open you want to make a statement so he's made a statement," Foster said of the 23-year-old Tongan-born prospect.
"Samisoni put his hand up before this series and there was a lot of debate about him because we believe he's got the goods at the next level and he's just proven that so it's a good conversation. On the same side we've got Asafo who took a head knock and wasn't able to play so there's a whole lot of variables in that space."
As far as settling on his first-choice starting XV, Foster seems to have found his best available loose forward trio after Akira Ioane, Ardie Savea and Luke Jacobson combined well in their first crack together in Hamilton.
Savea, in his comeback from a knee injury that has sidelined him for three months this season, didn't immediately produce his best in his 50th test but will be better for the hit out.
Foster confirmed the All Blacks view Savea as an eight first, seven second, but with Sam Cane injured and Dalton Papalii battling a calf complaint, he looks set to remain at openside for now with Luke Jacobson continuing to impress at the back of the dominant scrum, at the lineout and around the field.
Akira Ioane appears to have regained his place as the All Blacks' preferred blindside after an inconsistent Super Rugby campaign where he struggled with the Blues policy of using him on the edges.
The All Blacks have instead instructed Ioane to be far more direct and combative, which brings out his best in the test arena.
"There's good competition in the loose forwards and a lot of different styles. We've challenged Akira a lot on his work closer to the rucks and more through the middle of the park. We saw it's an area he can have a big impact through. He's clearly got strengths in the wider channels, but sometimes that can take him out of the game for a long time so I was pleased he rolled his sleeves up and got involved last night.
"There's a lot of competition for places and that's the way an All Blacks squad should be. Clearly there will be a lot of opinions about what the top XV is but that's a great debate for everyone to have. We've got a pretty good clear idea.
"The good thing is we're working on making sure the gap between our first and second choice is as small as possible. That's the positive that's emerged from this month."
After a week break the All Blacks will reassemble for a camp in Christchurch where attention will swiftly turn to the opening Bledisloe on August 7 at Eden Park against Dave Rennie's Wallabies after their dramatic 2-1 series win over a weakened French team.
"The Wallabies will be really pleased. All three tests looked like they duplicated each other; big arm wrestles, massive tight contests at the breakdown and almost all of them went down to the 81st minute. I'm sure they're feeling good about that but so are we."
In many ways the test season is merely beginning. From an All Blacks perspective, Foster believes it's shaping up nicely.