Otago has been boosted by the inclusion of hooker Liam Coltman and first five-eighth Josh Ioane for this week but one wonders - where is Ben Smith?
It is amazing what a good 80 minutes can do. All of a sudden, things are beginning to clear. But it is not always in a good way for some.
Otago Boys' High School put the foot down in the second half to win the Otago Premier Schools final at Littlebourne on Saturday.
Otago Boys’ High School has won the final of the Otago premier schools competition today, beating Kings High School 34-17.
The Highlanders have announced their first new signing for next year: Northland back Scott Gregory (20).
The men who will make the decisions on the field for the All Blacks and steer the ship appear to be well set. Rugby writer Steve Hepburn wonders if there are any more options for the inside backs.
Overseas players may paper over the cracks but in the end the player stocks have to be from within NZ's borders - no matter how good or how bad they are, writes Steve Hepburn.
The last time Otago and Southland clashed in a Ranfurly Shield match was in 2010. A train headed south to Invercargill, a crowd of 17,500 rocked up, and 80 minutes of high drama played out.
The record defeat against the Wallabies was a shock to most All Black fans. But is it the end of an era of All Black dominance or just a forgettable night where it all went against them?
Neither side going into this Saturday's Ranfurly Shield challenge will bring much form into the match but the trophy should ensure a decent crowd.
Otago and Southland are not alone in bringing in overseas talent to plug gaps as most sides look to bolster line-ups in the provincial competition.
King's High School got over a poor start to rack up its first win over Southland Boys' High School in more than 20 years on Saturday to make the final of the Otago premier schools competition.