Rugby: Coach Ian Foster hints at major All Blacks selection change

All Blacks coach Ian Foster has hinted at a major change to the make-up of his starting XV.

Foster's confirmed he'll stick with dual playmakers when the international season gets underway, but it appears the fullback spot is up for grabs.

The much-maligned strategy under predecessor Steve Hansen won't be going anywhere under Foster.

But that doesn't mean there won't be changes, with Foster hinting the current combination of Richie Mo'unga and Beauden Barrett is no certainty to continue.

"It's  a style that is part of our game," Foster tells Newshub. "But the names that fulfill it, well, we've got the ability to mix and match there.

"The good thing is we've got more options in that space in terms of personnel."

Foster feels one of five players could fill the fullback position - Beauden Barrett, Jordie Barrett, Damian McKenzie, David Havili or Will Jordan.

Barrett played all but two of his All Blacks tests at fullback last year, but even one of the world's best players has a challenge on his hands to retain his starting spot.

"The fact is we've now got some fullbacks who are really putting their hands up as well, so we've got a lot more options in terms of fulfilling that double playmaker," Foster notes.

One man Foster doesn't have any questions over is Blues captain Patrick Tuipulotu.

"He's been outstanding," Foster says. "He was one of the players I phoned up in January and just wanted to make sure he was really aware of the opportunity that he had."

Along with the loose forward make-up, the locking situation is causing Foster the most headaches and the competition for places in his first squad is welcomed by All Blacks captain Sam Cane.

"It honestly only feels like now, at this stage of my career, where I'm genuinely excited about young guys coming through and we've got a lot of them here at the Chiefs," Cane tells Newshub.

Clearly, Foster isn't afraid of change at the start of a new era of All Black rugby. 

"We're casting our net wide pretty widely," he says.

Watch the full story above