Filling the void left by Sonny Bill Williams is the biggest head-scratcher facing Steve Hansen before the first All Blacks team of 2018 is unveiled.
Hansen is confronted by options in the midfield, the loose forwards and at lock as the world champions prepare for three potentially awkward home Tests against France.
Injury clouds lifted over key players this week, meaning Hansen can field a team at close to full strength in the first Test at Eden Park on Saturday.
However, he is without cross-code star Williams for the entire series after the recurrence of a knee problem that required surgery.
The 32-year-old's absence from the inside centre berth leaves a number of potential combinations at Hansen's disposal.
One midfield slot will go to the accomplished Ryan Crotty, who pronounced he had overcame his latest head knock.
If he is retained at centre, Crotty's partner will probably be Hurricanes powerhouse Ngani Laumape, whose lone All Blacks start was a memorable third-Test display against the British and Irish Lions last year.
Assistant coach Ian Foster this week confirmed Crotty is a genuine prospect to start at No.12, potentially leading to a recall at outside centre for Anton Lienert-Brown or a Test debut for rising Crusaders star Jack Goodhue.
Like Crotty, captain Sam Whitelock was cleared this week of concussion concerns.
It is a timely diagnosis, with locking partner Brodie Retallick missing at least the first Test with a pectoral injury.
Scott Barrett should be the other starting lock in what would be an all-Crusaders tight five.
Sam Cane's recovery from an abdominal strain and Liam Squire's clearance of foul play by a Sanzaar judiciary means they'll be two of the starting loose forwards.
Filling the third spot is a challenge because of usual skipper Kieran Read's absence and a shoulder problem for Vaea Fifita.
Hansen may consider moving Ardie Savea to an unfamiliar role at No.8 or blindside flank, or call on the unspectacular safety net of Luke Whitelock, a proven performer at Super Rugby and Test level.
Possible All Blacks XV: Ben Smith, Waisake Naholo, Anton Lienert-Brown, Ryan Crotty, Rieko Ioane, Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara, Luke Whitelock, Sam Cane, Liam Squire, Sam Whitelock (capt), Scott Barrett, Owen Franks, Codie Taylor, Joe Moody.