Competition swirling in the Golden Chalice of All Blacks positions
James Mortimer 20 Nov 2013 Getty Images
To complicate proceedings further, the experienced Cory Jane made his return from injury, who made an impressive statement in Paris, who took his chance due to the sickness of Savea.
Meanwhile Charles Piutau has grown to the point of being the player of Europe so far.
One trembles if the likes of Frank Halai are giving time to make their mark, but for now it looks as if the senior wingmen will play against Ireland.
Savea was due to play against France but was admitted to hospital in Paris for an infection of his lung, but in the bed was determined to make an impressive comeback.
He won man of the match, and made a big impression on the training fields in the week before hand.
Effectively, he knocked Jane out of the starting side.
"I knew I was going to train my ass off to get back into the team," he said.
"I was glad I got the opportunity."
Competition has reached the point where Ben Smith could struggle to regain his spot if Conrad Smith makes a strong return next year, although there is the chance that his namesake could continue to in the midfield as time progresses.
For now, the quartet of Savea, Jane, Piutau and Halai are pushing each other hard, while one wouldn't be surprised if another outside man bolted into proceedings over the course of the 2014 Investec Super Rugby campaign.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said the way the players were setting such high standards came from knowing how easily another could grab a Test jersey as his own.
"His (Savea) response comes from the competition from his teammates," Hansen said.
"While he was sick, others were playing well and he's had a wee reminder that you can't take it for granted."
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