A new era for All Blacks locks?

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James Mortimer     28 May 2013     Getty Images

So now, Brodie Retallick stands to be potentially the leading lock for the World Champions, and form and recent selections point towards Luke Romano getting a nod in the starting XV.

Size is the vogue at the moment for the All Blacks locks, and the loss of Whitelock cannot be underestimated as he has been close to being the form second rower of Investec Super Rugby.

Retallick has been a typical beacon for the Chiefs, while there is a hint that Dominic Bird could make the grade to get into the 22 - even if an uncapped and departing (to Ireland) Craig Clarke remains on some armchair selector's pages.

Thrush, the replacement for Williams, is the 2004 IRB Under-19 Player of the Year, and the Hutt Valley giant is a big chance of debuting for his country.