All Blacks forwards coach John Plumtree says there are still spots in the first team up for grabs ahead of the second test against Fiji in Hamilton this Saturday.
The All Blacks coaching staff have been open about the purpose of the three tests this month, an opportunity to provide game time and rotation for the entire squad as they gear up for the first Bledisloe Cup test against Australia.
Ahead of their final game before the Wallabies on August 7, Plumtree admitted Ian Foster and the selectors still haven't quite nailed down their first choice team.
"There are opportunities there for us [to play our first team against Fiji] if we want it, but to be honest, we don't really know what that is yet," Plumtree said.
"There are obviously still some players unavailable. We've still got a few boys to come back in so by the time we select the team and Saturday night, there would've been some guys that would've had a bit more time than others and that's just natural over the three games.
"Some guys need more time than others. Some had bigger Super Rugby seasons. Some guys are carrying little niggles. So we put all those factors into place and select the team. Just making sure we keep wellbeing in the back of our minds as well, making sure that by the time we're ready for Bledisloe 1, that we have a full squad that's fit and healthy."
Among the players recovering from injuries include loose forward Ardie Savea and midfielder Anton Lienert-Brown, both of whom Plumtree says "trained well" and will have their fitness assessed this week.
Plumtree added that there is strong competition for some positions, which is good for the team.
"There's still competition in the group. There are still positions that we're not settled on. Certainly with some combinations we'd like to get going. You might see that in the selections. But we're still unsure about some selections.
"And that's fantastic for us because we know we've got some quality right through the team and the boys are fighting and working hard for competition in the pack. And in the backs, obviously they're heating up. So it's really healthy for us. Selection meetings go on for wee hours, which is great."
However, Plumtree wasn't looking past the Fijians, whose forwards, in particular, dominated the All Blacks at times, especially at the breakdown.
"If you look at the first game, obviously it was a slightly different hit out than the second one. We're pretty sure the third one is going to have more intensity about it. They've had a game up their sleeve and so have we. We got tested in a few areas so you'd have to say the last one now is going to have a fair bit more intensity about it as well. We're definitely expecting it to go up a couple notches.
"You could see their forwards worked really hard in that match. You could see a lot of them come from European clubs where they're well coached and well drilled. There was some stuff going on around the breakdown that we have to be a bit smarter with. The Fijian side has certainly got our attention now. We're expecting a really tough test."
The All Blacks take on Fiji at FMG Stadium in Hamilton on Saturday at 7.05pm.