The All Blacks expect David Pocock to return to the Wallabies line-up this weekend, while there is a possibility New Zealand will start two opensiders of their own in the Perth match.
Pocock has not played a game since March after injuring his calf during the Super Rugby season, and after touring with the Wallabies all winter but working on his own, the world-class flanker has been back training with the main squad this week in Perth.
All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster expects him to play.
"You always prepare for that sort of scenario. But we have played against those two (Pocock and Michael Hooper) when they play together, a number of times."
"They're quality footballers so we're preparing for that. But we also know if he doesn't make it, there will be someone else there who will do a job. Ultimately whatever happens on Saturday will happen but we are guessing that he will play."
All Blacks number seven Sam Cane was putting money on Pocock lining up for the Wallabies.
"Yep," Cane said with a grin.
Cane didn't expect Pocock to have any issues on his return.
"To have played that much Test match footy and you're used to playing at Super Rugby level consistently, I think it's more of a mental than physical thing," he said.
"I would expect him to come back and be right in the thick of things. Your match fitness is not normally where you want it to be but because you have been in those situations before you can normally just push on through.
"A guy like David Pocock, his best and worst game is not a big margin between them."
And in a likely related development, the All Blacks may consider starting two openside flankers of their own in Cane and Ardie Savea, although Foster wasn't giving much away.
"I will tell you on Thursday (team naming). Obviously I am not going to say anything like that so we'll wait and see," Foster said.
Cane said he enjoyed playing alongside Savea in the only Test they'd started together, in Argentina last year.
"We commented after the game that was quite cool playing together because normally it is running on and swapping for each other," he said.
"We enjoyed playing with each other."