A former All Blacks midfielder is picking Richard Kahui as first-choice second-five Ma'a Nonu's replacement in the All Blacks No.12 jersey against Ireland next month.
Isaia Toeava's been ruled out of all rugby for four months as he's having hip surgery this week - and Jason O'Halloran believes the form second five in the Super 14, Toeava's Blues team-mate Benson Stanley, will be overlooked.
O'Halloran's also picking Stephen Donald will miss out in favour of his Chiefs team-mate, the centre Kahui.
Toeava's absence is bad timing for his international career and another blow to the All Blacks' already thin midfield stocks with Nonu out with a knee injury.
Part of the reason is the evolution of the game. O'Halloran thinks while Stanley and Donald offer left-right kicking combinations with the left-footed first-five Dan Carter, rugby's moved on and the All Blacks are likely to play a more ball-in-hand style this season.
O'Halloran says Luke McCalister's another option but is lacking form due to injuries limiting his game time.