Mass changes unlikely to eventuate for All Blacks, but injuries and one key error could lead to some tweaks in the starting side for Eden Park, writes Liam Napier.
Those demanding the All Blacks make mass changes in the wake of their drawn Bledisloe Cup opener are likely to be disappointed.
Panic stations are not in their script, though tweaks seem inevitable.
Injuries may yet force the All Blacks' hand in key positions, with senior lock Sam Whitelock doubtful due to post-match headaches and Scott Barrett nearing a return from his three-month toe injury absence.
Richie Mo'unga is nursing a bruised shoulder after copping several late hits and Beauden Barrett continues to navigate a niggly Achilles injury that All Blacks assistant coach John Plumtree revealed had plagued him this season.
Losing any of those figures would be a blow in the quest to retain the Bledisloe and right the wrongs from last week.
Injury concerns aside, fullback and midfield are expected to be positions under most scrutiny. Prop Nepo Laulala is also likely to return after missing last week's draw for personal reasons.
"We've had one test," Plumtree said. "We're not going to go and make wholesale changes - we'd be mad to do that."
In honest musings this week it's clear the All Blacks are adamant their main failing in Wellington came at the breakdown and in the collisions. Give as good as they get on and off the ball in those areas, and the backline will hope to have much more room to move at Eden Park.
Visions for the opening Bledisloe had Barrett starting at fullback to reprise the dual playmaker combination with Mo'unga – a tactic the All Blacks believe retains major upside.
If both are fit, expect the All Blacks to stick with this plan.
Mo'unga did not enjoy a happy outing in Wellington as he was repeatedly smacked late off the ball and pressured behind slow or messy possession.
While Mo'unga regularly produces class performances for the Crusaders, in 19 tests he is yet to stamp his authority on the test arena.
That's a concern for the All Blacks, but they are likely to persist with Mo'unga for now.
Of all their injury concerns, Barrett has the ability to transform the All Blacks attack.
Damian McKenzie's injection two days before the Wellington test disrupted preparations. In immensely challenging conditions the diminutive Chiefs fullback struggled to counter the Wallabies kicking game.
No one replaces a player of Barrett's calibre. Two years ago at Eden Park he became the first No 10 to score four tries in a test. That 40-12 demolition of the Wallabies is not comparable to Dave Rennie's reincarnated version, but it does demonstrate Barrett's lethal capabilities.
In the World Cup pool victory over the Springboks last year Barrett's playmaking vision was evident when, from second receiver, he took Mo'unga's pass and put the foot down to send George Bridge over for a telling try.
Such instances prove how valuable Barrett is at taking pressure off Mo'unga's shoulders in a way McKenzie largely did not last weekend.
The other talking point is whether Rieko Ioane retains his starting centre role.
Setting aside the certain try Ioane blew by not grounding the ball just before halftime, he was then sucked infield defensively in the lead-up to Marika Koroibete's second half strike.
Defensive adjustments were the biggest challenge Ioane faced in switching from wing for his first test start at centre. It's this area which could ultimately pave the way for the All Blacks to promote the reliable Anton Lienert-Brown to start alongside Jack Goodhue.
Goodhue's talents are best suited to centre but the All Blacks opted to start him at second-five in order to give Ioane his chance. Whether it's Lienert-Brown-Goodhue or the other way around, that combination would bring more stability to the midfield this week.
Ioane could, however, still have a role to play in covering midfield and the outside backs from the bench.
"The simplest way to put it is at 12 you have less time on the ball and at 13 you've probably got a little bit more space," Lienert-Brown said. "At 13 you're making bigger decisions whether to shut out or push off. For the both of us we can interchange between either pretty easily and like to see it as a strength of our game.
"Knowing Rieks he's going to hit back hard. There were a couple of things there he could improve but we all know the talent he possesses. The character he has is he'll learn from those occasions and he won't go into his shell. I thought for the most part he did his role pretty well and unfortunately it's going to be overlooked by one moment but he's a classy player."