WELLINGTON - Left wing and blindside flanker are the most contentious selection issues for All Blacks coach Steve Hansen ahead of Saturday's Bledisloe Cup Test in Sydney.
The template established in the 3-0 series sweep of Ireland will form the basis of Hansen's starting 15 unveiled yesterday for the Rugby Championship opener.
However, injury has limited the options in some positions while shifts in form could yet sway Hansen and co-selectors Ian Foster and Grant Fox.
Usually a fringe candidate, Liam Messam's blockbusting form for the Chiefs and his dynamic display wearing No.6 in the third Irish Test could yet thrust him ahead of the reliable Adam Thomson.
Victor Vito is also in contention as the third cog in a loose forward mix sure to feature Kieran Read and captain Richie McCaw.
Vito was the original choice for blindside flanker for the first Ireland Test but an injured knee sidelined him for the rest of June.
Cory Jane missed the Irish series with injury and should come straight back in for dropped right winger Zac Guildford.
Left wing is less clear-cut.
Powerful Hurricane Julian Savea shone on debut in the first Irish Test but a mixed return in the second opened the door for veteran Hosea Gear to impress in the third. The versatile Ben Smith is also a consideration to wear No.11.
Elsewhere, Sonny Bill Williams seems an inside centre certainty, pushing Ma'a Nonu out one spot to form a muscular midfield.
Dan Carter and Test rookie Aaron Smith should remain the first-choice halves combination ahead of the rapidly-improving Aaron Cruden and mercurial halfback Piri Weepu, while no change is expected to the starting tight five which was so impressive in June.
Israel Dagg, Cory Jane, Ma'a Nonu, Sonny Bill Williams, Julian Savea, Dan Carter, Aaron Smith, Kieran Read, Richie McCaw (capt), Liam Messam, Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick, Owen Franks, Andrew Hore, Tony Woodcock.
Reserves: Ben Smith, Aaron Cruden, Piri Weepu, Adam Thomson, Luke Romano, Ben Franks, Keven Mealamu.