And for those of us who always believed that every male Kiwi grew up with the clear ambition to be an All Black, comes the news that Brad Thorn has withdrawn from the squad almost as soon as he was selected.
The Canterbury lock, who has just completed his first domestic season of rugby union after quitting the Brisbane Broncos, has sensationally withdrawn from the trip amid suggestions that he may well return to the League code.
Thorn is said to have been uneasy about taking part in this tour because he could not promise he would still be playing the 15-man game next year.
"On that basis Brad felt it would be wrong to tour with the All Blacks," explained manager Andrew Martin. "Brad says it has long been a dream of his to play for the All Blacks and that was the reason he came back to New Zealand from rugby league in Australia. His actions in declining a place in the tour squad show just how much he values the All Blacks jersey and he deserves credit for making what must have been a tough decision."
Thorn's place now goes to Wellington lock Dion Waller, who was called into the All Blacks squad as injury cover during last year's tour of France.of France.
The All Black touring team: Fullbacks: Ben Blair (Canterbury), Leon MacDonald (Canterbury).
Wingers: Doug Howlett (Auckland), Jonah Lomu (Wellington), Caleb Ralph (Canterbury), Roger Randle (Waikato).
Centres: Nathan Mauger (Canterbury), Tana Umaga (Wellington).
Second-fives: Pita Alatini (Otago), Aaron Mauger (Canterbury).
First-fives: David Hill (Waikato), Andrew Mehrtens (Canterbury).
Halfbacks: Byron Kelleher (Otago), Justin Marshall (Canterbury).
No 8s: Paul Miller (Otago), Scott Robertson (Canterbury).
Locks: Chris Jack (Canterbury), Simon Maling (Otago), Norm Maxwell (Canterbury), Brad Thorn (Canterbury).
Props: Greg Feek (Canterbury), Dave Hewett (Canterbury), Kees Meeuws (Otago), Greg Somerville (Canterbury).
Hookers: Anton Oliver (Otago, captain), Tom Willis (Otago).
13 Nov v Ireland A, Belfast.
17 Nov v Ireland, Dublin.
20 Nov v Scotland A, Perth.
24 Nov v Scotland, Edinburgh.
1 Dec v Argentina, Buenos Aires.