Finally, there is a sense that the top All Blacks team is emerging.Finally there is hope, a team that has gone from good to bad in the last 12 months
Somewhere in between, volatility and uncertainty will now be lost by working to buy option consistency.
The road to how we got here may be unconventional, more bumpy than it needs to be, and maybe a little too reliant on fate to kill some possible wrongly chosen options, but here we still have more answers than questions.
Having been able to pick 22 of the 23 at Ellis Park for Argentina, manager Ian Foster has been able to send the clearest signal that he is ready to join a tighter group and identify his key combination what is.
Now, it looks like the All Blacks believe they have the modern front row they are looking for. They also have a reserve force, Foster no longer has to choose between a scrimmage and a batter – he now has the props to do it all, and probably, should be, like Nepo Laulala, Angus Ta The men’ avao and Ofa Tuungafasi were both aligned with their provinces during the rugby tournament and were told to provide reasons why they should be recalled to the All Blacks.
Shannon Frizell may not be the long-term answer at six, but he may be the answer now, or at least until Brodie Retallick matches it up again.
Once Retallick is back, the All Blacks may see they have two paths to form their loose trio – the way they play against the Cougars with Frizell, Sam Cane and Ardie Savea, or against Scott Barrett, Cane and Savea The way.
Not everyone will like the idea of considering two paths, but the nature of Test rugby is flexibility and choice – approaching different issues against different issues and sharing game time between Barrett and Fritzel provides some confidence , that is, the blind selection narrows down to at least two.
In a world where Anton Linate-Brown and Jack Goodhue both fit in, it doesn’t matter now whether David Haveli and Rico Yoan will be Foster’s first-choice midfielders.
These two, perhaps for environmental reasons, have produced enough in South Africa to convince them that they should have more time together, and it may be the fact that they have shown some confidence in them that they are now starting More often producing high quality work, which they did in Johannesburg.
The unfortunate fact that Boden Barrett is unwell is that it has cast doubt on whether Foster has made a firm commitment to Richie Muga as his current No. 10 choice.
Assuming it has to be he has, and even if Barrett is healthy, he’ll start on the bench because dropping Mo’unga after his daring display makes him wonder if he’s just being used to try and play on him More experienced opponents lit a fire.
It appears that the win at Ellis Park not only provided career redemption, it also gave Foster a clear understanding of how his All Blacks play.
Now, most certainly, have an offensive blueprint and benchmarks based on the level of effort players need to put in.
Not only that, but Ellis Parker seems to have justified Foster’s belief in himself, his plans, and his approach, because if he revealed that he had been doubting himself and his thinking for a while over the past two months, it would Not surprising.
But a win could chase mental demons elsewhere and might even build a little confidence that the All Blacks are now a team with the potential to go on to win the Rugby Championship.
And, who knows, if the gods of rugby are kind and injuries don’t happen like they used to, then we might see the All Blacks team get more dangerous and stronger for the rest of the year, come on Going to France for next year’s World Cup is more intimidating than ever.
Of course, all this optimism at Christchurch this week could be stifled if the All Blacks fail to build on their performance at Ellis Park.
But it’s hard to see disaster looming this weekend. It’s hard because the All Blacks do feel like they’ve turned a corner.
Not because they won a solo ordeal, but more because what they’ve been through in the past two months, what they’ve survived, and what hasn’t killed them, has made them stronger.