The selection of Colin Slade in the Cantabrians team to face the Wellington Lions in a pre-season outing on Friday has attracted the attention of the All Black selectors.
Slade, who is making his comeback from a second broken jaw and played 40 minutes in the Ranfurly Shield 52-8 Ranfurly Shield win over North Otago last weekend, faces stiff competition from Aaron Cruden to be Dan Carter's All Black deputy in the Tri-Nations and World Cup this year.
The All Blacks squad for the Tri-Nations and the Dunedin Test against Fiji will be named on Sunday.
It was confirmed that All Black coach Graham Henry and his assistant Wayne Smith will be at the Petone Recreation Ground to assess Slade.
Henry's other assistant, Steve Hansen, told reporters after a second two-day training camp drew to a close in Wellington on Wednesday, that they had all but nailed down their selections for the 30-man squad but would check on Slade's form before confirming their team sheet.
"We'll make some decisions after that," he said, adding that how Crusaders players came through Super Rugby Final against the Reds could also influence the make-up of the squad.
"There's always opportunities, [because] we don't know what's going to happen on Saturday in Brisbane. There could be some injuries to guys we'd like to select so there's always opportunities to keep impressing," he said.
Slade is likely to be up against fellow All Blacks contenders Neemia Tialata, Piri Weepu, Cory Jane, Conrad Smith and Victor Vito.
New Zealand sevens coach Gordon Tietjens Wednesday put the backs and loose forwards through another lung-busting workout, but Liam Messam limped out of the session early with an ankle injury, while Hosea Gear was also missing with a hamstring complaint.
But Hansen said both were in contention to be named in the squad which may feature players who have been sidelined by injury.
"He [Messam] just rolled an ankle so he'll be right.
"He [Gear] is a current All Black so he's clearly going to be in contention. Hamstrings come right eventually so hopefully his is good enough to come right over the next few weeks.
"If they can't play in the Tri-Nations we won't name them, but if there's a possibility that they could play in the Tri-Nations then they'll get named if that's who we want," he said.
Prop Tony Woodcock, utility back Isaia Toeava and fullback Israel Dagg have all spent lengthy spells off the field with foot, hip and thigh injuries respectively and Hansen said he had little to report on their status.
"They're all making good progress and we're expecting them back at some stage, but other than being able to say they're making good progress there's not much more that we can give you," he said.
Hansen gave little away on the possible make-up of the squad but appeared to rule out the claims of Highlanders forward Jarrad Hoeata saying they were not looking for a lock-cum-blindside flank in the squad.
Cantabrians: 15 McNicholl Johnny, 14 Veainu Telusa, 13 Symmons Andy, 12 Taylor Tom, 11 Osborne Patrick, 10 Slade Colin, 9 Swanepoel Mark, 8 Parker Ash (captain), 7 O'Connor Brendon, 6 Abbott Mark, 5 Everson Joel, 4 Katene Luke, 3 Fa'anunu Paea, 2 Ngauamo Paul, 1 Moody Joe.
Replacements - from: Funnell Ben, Cottam Sam, Bird Dominic, Hall Bernie, Wilson Ellery, Hifo Kolio, McLennan Nick, Laulala Nepo, Taylor Codie, Whitelock Luke.
Date: Friday, July 8
Venue: Petone Rec, Wellington
Kick-off: 14.30 (02.30 GMT)
Referee: James McPhail
Additional reporting by NZPA
Gilbert has released a new line of rugby cleats. The Gilbert Virtuo 8S is part of the exciting new product. Check it out.
The entire All Blacks apparel line has been updated for 2013/14. Check out the New Zealand All Blacks polo.
The Nike Tiempo is a solid rugby cleat and one of few styles still made from full-grain natural leather.
The Gilbert Blitz 8S rugby cleat is a great cleat at a great price of $69.99. Get a new pair of cleats today.
A cool looking all black rugby cleat with the high performance adidas is known for. Get in the Gear!
Wear the crest of the British and Irish Lions on your t-shirt. A great look for the summer.
The All Blacks Performance t-shirt is black with hints of blue from the training jersey. Very Cool.
The New Zealand All Blacks training jersey for 2013/14. Get in the Gear!
The USA Rugby Pro Alternate rugby jersey is perfect for any fan of the Eagles. Get yours to wear during the summer Test matches.
The NEW All Blacks 2013/14 jersey has arrived at World Rugby Shop. Dare to wear the colors of the All Blacks.