The first All Blacks squad of the year was named yesterday, with several new players, a couple of recalls and surprise or two among the 32 chosen for next month's series against Wales.
There were also a couple of unlucky omissions.
Coach Steve Hansen named six uncapped players, the Hurricanes Ardie Savea, the Chiefs Seta Tamanivalu and Damian McKenzie, the Blues Ofa Tu'ungafasi and Highlanders Elliot Dixon and Liam Squire.
While Squire is the apparent bolter, Hansen says he's had his eye on the Tasman tough man for a while.
"He's an athlete first and foremost. He's got real ability to hurt you, both with the ball and without. That's impressed me a heck of a lot this year and he's really brought that physicality into his defensive game, and his running (with the ball) is world class."
Squire's team-mate Dixon has also been rewarded, with the Highlanders recent success being recognised by Hansen.
"Elliot's a guy who's been part of a forward pack that's really grown under Jamie (Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph) to the point where they won the competition last year. They're a hard working group and Elliot's been really consistent and he's one of the leaders in that forward pack."
After getting the fateful phone call from Hansen and given the news he'd made it, Dixon said he celebrated in typical Highlanders fashion with some deep south delicacies.
"Just eat 'em raw, man! Yeah, I'm a big fan of (bluff) oysters. I actually got a couple bought for me from my partner's parents yesterday so chewed through a couple of dozen."
Ardie Savea has always been described by Hansen as an All Black in waiting and he's set to join brother Julian as the 44th set of siblings to play for New Zealand.
If they get on the field at the same time they'll become just the 10th pair of brothers to play alongside each other for the All Blacks.
The younger Savea said it was a special moment when he told his parents both their sons were going to wear the famous black jersey.
"It's quite a unique thing it doesn't come round very often. It's good to be here (at the team naming in Auckland) with him (Julian) though I'm a bit sick and tired of seeing his face, ha ha, nah, it's bloody awesome."
The three new loosies have kept Crusader Matt Todd out of the squad, while halfback TJ Perenara has missed out to Tawera Kerr-Barlow as back-up to Aaron Smith. It's a big blow to the Hurricanes number nine, but he is with the squad while Kerr-Barlow recovers from injury.
Prop Tu'ungafasi is another interesting selection, though he can play both sides of the scrum, meaning Hansen can carry one less front rower in his squad.
The Crusaders fullback Israel Dagg is back after being overlooked for the World Cup, with his Super Rugby form and an injury to Nehe Milner-Skudder paving the way for his recall.
That World Cup omission stung as expected and the soon the be 28-year-old said he wondered whether he would add to his 49 tests.
"You think oh well, I've had 49 opportunities, not a bad run it's probably time (my All Blacks career ended) but after a month I got over at. My wife says I'm getting old but I feel like I'm young and I still have a lot to add to this jersey."
Fullback Damian McKenzie's induction into the All Blacks environment comes as no surprise, though with Dagg, Ben Smith, Julian Savea, and Waisake Naholo in the outside backs it's unlikely the Chiefs dynamo will get much game time.
The All Blacks coaches now face a unique task - they must rebuild the leadership core of the side, blood new players, and advance the game, all while being expected to win every test.
Hansen says that weight of expectation may have been too heavy for some previous All Blacks teams to bear, but the current crop relish it.
"That's one of the things we've actually mastered, I think in the past maybe it's been a burden for some teams, but it's the one thing we know is constant and we wouldn't want that to change. We know that those high external expectations raise our own very high internal expectations even higher. It's one of the things that's driven this team to
No. 8 Kieran Read will captain the side with fullback Ben Smith vice-captain.
The All Blacks kick-off the new era against Wales next month, with the first match of the three-test series in Auckland in a couple of weeks (June 11th, Eden Park).
That game as always, is a must win.