OPINION: It’s not just the choice between number eights Luke Whitelock and Akira Ioane that provides interest to the All Blacks squad selection for June’s France series.
How many opensides will they pick? Can you fit Sam Cane, Ardie Savea and Matt Todd into the same squad?
I think they can. The versatility that Savea offers, particularly in the absence of Kieran Read, makes him hard to go past. Cane has been outstanding for the Chiefs so far this season and Todd continues to slog away as one of the more under-rated loosies in NZ rugby.
Will Jerome Kaino make it, or are Liam Squire and Vaea Fifita the only blindsides?
Sadly, I believe we've seen the last of the legendary No. 6. Squire and Fifita have both proven they're prospects the selectors are eager to blood further.
With their preference for a toiler of a No.8, they're looking at Squire and Fifita as that wide-ranging, damaging outside runner - they fit the mould perfectly.
Which brings us back to our original question – Whitelock or Ioane? Considering the above, the rock-solid, hard-working Whitelock will win the place.
Will Nepo Laulala's injury heal in time to take a tighthead prop spot or will Jeff Toomaga-Allen get a call up?
A fit Laulala will certainly be there.
What about Crockzilla? Will Wyatt Crockett come out of retirement to help out at loosehead, or Joe Moody and Tim Perry do suffice?
Crockett has to be a last-gasp move, I think we see both Moody and Perry against the French.
Ross Karl is Newshub rugby editor. Stay tuned to Newshub Sport for the backs selections, as well as all the reaction from the squad announcement from 9:30am Sunday