The All Blacks made significant strides in 2022 towards finding the 33 players who will jump on a plane to France next year, with many experienced campaigners potentially on the outside looking in after the turbulent season.
The coaching shake-up that saw new assistants Jason Ryan and Joe Schmidt join the All Blacks staff has altered the arc of a few playing careers, propelling some into the frame whilst others have slipped in standing.
With nine months to go until the start of the tournament, there is sure to be one or two late bloomers burst into contention and injuries will always play a role in the final selections.
For the All Blacks, the backs for the World Cup squad are far more settled with most of the positions already secured, while it is the forwards that offer the most uncertainty.
The positional group that saw the most change in 2022 was the front row, once new forwards coach Jason Ryan arrived the All Blacks he swiftly introduced new props and a new rake.
The new trio of Ethan de Groot (24 years old), Samisoni Taukei’aho (25) and Tyrel Lomax (26), all in their mid 20s, started most of the tests following the first loss to South Africa and as such are expected to remain the first choice front row heading into next year barring a colossal form drop or injury.
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