Injury concerns hovering over the All Blacks will play a major role in shaping selection for the 100th test against the Springboks.
Ian Foster's squad is, largely, in healthy, highly-motivated shape after 11 changes were made to the starting team for last week's comfortable victory over the Pumas.
Two leading players who did not feature in that match, though, remain doubtful for the Springboks match.
In Sam Cane's absence, Blues openside Dalton Papalii has established his presence as the All Blacks' preferred openside flanker this season. Papalii's physicality on defence, ball carrying ability and strong work over the ball form a compelling package for a 23-year-old prospect.
Papalii suffered a minor hamstring injury in the first win over the Pumas, and must now prove his fitness to be considered to play the Boks in Townsville on Saturday. Hamstrings can be problematic, particularly for someone charged with maintaining a strong base and gaining breakdown turnovers.
Foster has been keen this season to make calls on player availability early in the week in order to give those who will take the field as much time as possible to prepare. Time is, therefore, against Papallii.
The same may be true for Anton Lienert-Brown, who hasn't featured since the Bledisloe victory in Perth after injuring his hamstring in training one day before the first test against the Pumas.
Lienert-Brown started the year as the first-choice centre but his injury-disrupted All Blacks campaign - he's played three of eight tests - has allowed Rieko Ioane to surpass him in that role.
In Papalii and Lienert-Brown's cases, Foster may adopt a cautious approach that determines at this point, it's not worth taking the risk.
With the All Blacks' depth coming to the fore it's not as if Foster lacks alternatives.
Should Papalii fail to prove his fitness, stand-in skipper Ardie Savea would retain the openside role he filled last week against the Pumas and leave the No 8 jersey up for grabs.
Luke Jacobson probably has the inside running to fill the void at the back of the scrum in combination with Savea and Akira Ioane, who was rested last week.
Blues No 8 Hoskins Sotutu and abrasive Crusaders contender Ethan Blackadder are other options. Blackadder, however, could be best used covering all three loose forward roles from the bench. Injecting his relentless work rate and defensive qualities could prove invaluable in the final quarter against the combative Boks.
Elements of Rieko Ioane's game from centre remain raw at times but his compelling recent form will give Foster a level of comfort if Lienert-Brown is ruled out. That scenario would also require Quinn Tupaea or Braydon Ennor to cover midfield from the bench.
While Ioane botched a try in the early stages against the Pumas after throwing a dummy and being penalised for a double movement, his running lines and dynamic speed continue to cause opposition major headaches.
Outside those injury concerns the toughest decisions Foster faces are on the edges where he is certain to leave at least one wing disappointed.
Jordie Barrett appears to have done enough to retain the starting fullback role, with Damian McKenzie needed to cover No 10 from the bench, but it is far from clear-cut between Sevu Reece, Will Jordan and George Bridge on the wings.
Another difficult decision looms at halfback where either TJ Perenara or Brad Weber will get the nod. After watching the Wallabies run the Boks off their feet, the All Blacks will be intent on playing with pace, which may favour Weber's strengths.
With many of Foster's first-choice side returning to the fray for this special occasion in Townsville, competition for places is clearly intense.
As he attempts to maintain his unbeaten record against South Africa that includes 10 wins and one draw, Brodie Retallick underlined the importance of Foster's rotation policy that will now cease with the chance to hand the world champion Springboks their third successive defeat.
"Having the week off was massive personally," Retallick said. "Playing a few games back-to-back, the body was starting to get a bit tired and when you look at the big picture with the two South African games to come and five more on the end of year tour, a week off is only going to help. I'm feeling good and ready to rip into the week.
"It's going to be a massive occasion the 100th test between the two nations. They're the current world champions, they've earned that. We didn't manage to do that in 2019."
Retallick's final point is fuelling the fire for the All Blacks. Regardless of recent results, they view the Boks as the yardstick by which to measure themselves.
As of Saturday the All Blacks are ranked No 1 in the world but, as Savea noted after defeating the Pumas, to be the best you must beat the best.
Under his leadership, expect the All Blacks to embrace that mindset.