Having watched his men stuff France 30-0 on Saturday night, Steve Hansen can contemplate letting his hair down around the selection table.
With the series won 2-0, and the Dave Gallaher Cup retained, the All Blacks coach yesterday hinted there will be changes for the final test in New Plymouth. The expectation, now, is that Dan Carter will be back at first five-eighth.
Although there will be no spin-the-bottle approach by Hansen and his fellow selectors, a desire to blood new combinations is likely.
And given that the cracked bone in Carter’s right hand has mended it seems inevitable Hansen will thrust the Cantabrian back into the No 10 jersey.
He may have 94 test caps but Carter, who last played when he kicked the winning penalty when the Crusaders beat the Waratahs 23-22 on May 31, will be hankering to be reunited with his All Blacks’ No 10 jersey.
“Think that’s enough of being allblacks waterboy, time to get back out on the field,” Carter tweeted at the weekend.
No 8 Kieran Read, who suffered a painful back injury before halftime but defied initial fears he would need to be replaced by Victor Vito, should be available and Sam Whitelock (who copped a blow to the elbow) will not prevent him being considered.