Aaron Cruden's World Cup hopes have been diminished severely, while Highlanders in-form flyhalf Lima Sopoaga has played himself into All Blacks' contention.
The Hurricanes need to get used to being targeted as the team to beat according to Assistant Coach Clark Laidlaw.
Hope may not be lost for the Chiefs and All Blacks should Aaron Cruden's knee injury turn out to be a severe ACL problem.
All Black stars Richie McCaw and Kieran Read have said they a ready for when the time comes to walk in the rugby sunset.
The NZRU are reconsidering their concussion procedures after a Highlanders player remarkably returned to the field in a Super Rugby game last weekend.
Kieran Read has changed his mind and declined the opportunity to play at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
The decision of Colin Slade to head to Europe after the World Cup has made coach Steven Hansen very aware that the exodus of players is not yet over.
INTERVIEW: All Black and Crusaders back Colin Slade said he "remains committed" to New Zealand, until he leaves for France later this year.
NEWS: All Black flyhalf Colin Slade has signed a three-year contract with Pau, who have just won promotion to the Top 14.
NEWS: Chiefs prop player Ben Afeaki has decided to retire from the game due to medical reasons.
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