ANALYSIS: The All Blacks usher in a new era on Sunday when coach Steve Hansen names his first squad since their World Cup title defence and the subsequent exodus of several leading players.
So who will step up to fill the holes left by the departing superstars and what challenges will the team face when they host Wales in a three-test series next month?
Steve Hansen and his team must overcome the loss of five centenarians, including first-five Dan Carter and captain and openside Richie McCaw.
McCaw was the team's talisman and his record of success is unprecedented, though Hansen believes his retirement clears the way for another star to emerge.
"When you cut the biggest trees down which cast the biggest shadows then it allows other things to grow. You look at someone like Sam Cane, who's been sitting, waiting for his opportunity. We don't expect him to be Richie McCaw because he's not, he's Sam Cane. His job now is to enhance the jersey just like Richie did," Hansen said.
Former All Blacks coach John Hart thinks the loss of personnel won't hamper the All Blacks' chances of success.
He said replacing the playing talent within the squad would not be an issue for the All Blacks coaches.
"The major problem is solved because of the way they have handled the succession planning over the last three or four years and I think the All Blacks selection panel has done a brilliant job in that regard. The big challenge they're going to have is undoubtedly in the leadership area."
Hansen agrees with Hart's diagnosis and concedes reproducing the team's winning chemistry will be a challenge.
He said the now departed senior players had created a will to win and an unshakeable self belief that will be tough to replicate.
"That chemistry was about their leadership experience and their body language when they're under pressure. Deep down that group had an inner self belief that no matter what was happening they could still find a way. It's now the challenge for the new group to take on that mantra.
New skipper Kieran Read was one of the current All Blacks who were in that senior leadership group and Hansen is backing a new crop of leaders to emerge.
It's the loss of midfielders Ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith, as well as the absence of Sonny Bill Williams, that Hansen says will hurt the most against Wales next month.
"Not only have we lost Ma'a and Conrad we've also lost Sonny. They were the three guys that set the World Cup on fire and allowed us to have a one, two, three punch. We won't have that luxury in June. But it's an exciting challenge for people like Ryan Crotty, (Charlie) Ngatai and Malakai Fekitoa and others."
Fekitoa and Crotty are the only current All Black midfielders available from last year and it's understood they'll get the first crack against Wales next month, with the Chiefs Ngatai set to play again at some point.
There will no doubt be a few debutants named in Sunday's squad, the likes of loose forwards Jordan Taufua (Crusaders) and Ardie Savea (Hurricanes), and while picked largely on talent, Hansen said the selectors do their homework on which players will fit into the All Blacks culture.
"Do they have the mental capacity to handle the pressure that comes with being an All Black, do they have the characteristics to cope? If they don't that usually is reflected in some form of behaviour (on or off the field) that's not consistent with the way the All Blacks operate."
The selection of the outside backs in Hansen's first squad of 2016 should prove interesting.
Julian Savea, Ben Smith and Waisake Naholo are lock-ins and the Chiefs dynamic fullback Damian McKenzie is likely to be inducted into the All Blacks environment.
Hart said with Hurricanes flyer Nehe Milner-Skudder out injured, he'd include a resurgent Crusaders No.15 Israel Dagg to free up vice-captain Ben Smith to cover the wing.
However former All Black fullback Christian Cullen believes Dagg will miss out.
"Damian McKenzie covers first-five and fullback, he's had a pretty good year and shown what he can do. Beauden Barrett covers first-five and fullback so guys like (Israel) Dagg, he's come back and is playing really well but I think he might be the unlucky one, though that's harsh because if you did pick him he'd probably do just a good a job as anyone."
Chiefs wing James Lowe is a chance, though Hurricanes veteran and former All Black Cory Jane is likely to be left out.
Highlanders first-five Lima Sopoaga will be back in the side after missing the World Cup, though with Aaron Cruden set to start and Beauden Barrett providing first-five and fullback cover from the bench, it might be hard for Sopoaga to force his way into the matchday team for the tests against Wales.
Highlanders centre Matt Faddes could be a bolter, he's in superb form and playing so well he's forced World Cup winner Malakai Fekitoa out of position to second-five for three successive weeks.
There will definitely be some good news for Highlanders fans, who were miffed last year when none of their Super Rugby winning forwards were picked, with standout flanker Elliot Dixon expected to be named in the squad.