Luke Whitelock has kept his place for the Highlanders' Super Rugby clash with the Hurricanes tomorrow after a string of performances that prompted coach Jamie Joseph to say he was worthy of an All Blacks recall.
Whitelock, the younger brother of twice World Cup-winning lock Sam, made his sole appearance for the All Blacks off the bench against Japan in 2013.
The 25-year-old moved south from Canterbury this season and has been at the forefront of the Highlanders resurgence after two mid-season losses, with the side having beaten the Chiefs and Crusaders in their last two matches.
Number eight Whitelock was singled out for praise by Joseph after his side beat the Canterbury Crusaders 34-26 on May 14.
"He's been to the top already," Joseph told reporters two weeks ago. "A guy like Luke Whitelock has already played for the All Blacks once so there has obviously always been that potential."
The Dunedin-based side had a bye last week and Joseph made only two changes from the team that dispatched the Crusaders with Tom Franklin replacing Joe Wheeler at lock and Daniel Lienert-Brown coming into the front row.
Lienert-Brown was a late withdrawal from the Crusaders' match and replaced by Josh Hohneck, who swapped to the loosehead side of the scrum. Hohneck has shifted back to tighthead prop and Siua Halanukonuka has dropped to the bench.
Super Rugby rookie Matt Faddes continues to keep his spot at centre, forcing World Cup winner Malakai Fekitoa into the number 12 jersey for the third successive game, though assistant coach Scott McLeod said that was more to fit their game plans.
"Depending on the opposition we play, we look for opportunities and we put people's strengths into those opportunities," McLeod told Fairfax Media on Wednesday.
"We saw a couple of things around the Chiefs and Crusaders where we thought Matt would go well at centre and Malakai at 12.
"Not every game will be like that."