Versatility and a focus on improving the depth of talent have been the key elements in the New Zealand squad named by Graham Henry for their tour of Britain and Ireland.
While the bulk of the 35-man squad played in the Tri-Nations series and against the British and Irish Lions, five new players have been called up for the tour which will take in Tests against Wales, Ireland, England and Scotland.
Of those five, Angus Macdonald can play at lock and in all three positions in the back row, while Chris Masoe has experience in all three loose forward positions but will primarily be used as an openside flanker. Prop Neemia Tialata is also able to play both sides of the scrum.
Utility back Isaia Toeava is equally at home at flyhalf, in the centres, on the wing or at fullback. The other newcomer is lock Jason Eaton, who has yet to play Super 14 rugby.
Henry stressed the selections had been made with the 2007 World Cup in France in mind.
''When we come to World Cup time and we are only permitted to pick 30 players that utility value is going to be very important,'' he said.
''What we are trying to do is develop depth across the park so if we have an injury going into major games we have got another player who has got the experience of playing top quality international football in that position.
''I go back to [fullback] Leon MacDonald in the 13 position in the semi-final of the last World Cup. We don't want to get into that situation again. We have learned from those experiences and so that's what we are trying to do.
''For quality players to develop they have got to play international rugby. We have got to try to play as many of these guys as possible in top internationals.''
Henry admitted the competition for loose forward places had been high and that the decision to opt for Masoe ahead of Marty Holah, Richie McCaw's regular understudy, had not been taken lightly.
''Marty Holah has been with us for some time and he is a quality player and that has not changed. We are just looking at a different skill set there and Masoe gives us that.
''Chris Masoe also has that utility value. He can play seven, eight and six.
''We are wondering about his ability to play seven. He has the explosiveness with or without the ball. He is very destructive and it will be interesting to see how he develops playing at seven on this tour.''
The real surprise selection however was that of 19-year-old Toeava, who is in the running for the International Rugby Board's Under-19 player of the year award.
Despite failing to regularly make the Auckland match-day squad, assistant coach Wayne Smith felt the decision to take him on tour was not that much of a gamble.
''We have done our homework. We have not just plucked a name out of the air. Steve Hansen went away to the Under-19 tournament and followed him closely there.
''People say it's a big step up from Under-19 and, of course, it is but there have been precedents,'' Smith told the Rugby Channel.
''John Kirwan is one I think of. He came out of nowhere and we all feel that this boy [Toeava] is a special player.
''First thing is his versatility. The fact he can play first-five [flyhalf], second-five [inside centre], centre and fullback. He's played on the wing for [Gordon] Tietjens' sevens team. He's a goalkicker and kicked very well at the Under-19 tournament.
''He's a player with a lot of time. I came up [to Auckland] with the high performance coaches and put him through some skills and he's got a very high skill level which creates time for yourself. Mentally I think he's able to step up. We feel he is a player who is not going to be fazed by all of this.''
Other notable inclusions in the squad are scrum-half Jimmy Cowan, who has headed off the challenge of Kevin Senio to force his way back into contention behind Byron Kelleher and Piri Weepu and hooker Andrew Hore, who last played for the All Blacks in the 2004 Tri-Nations.
Hooker Derren Witcombe and flanker Jono Gibbes were not considered because of neck and foot injuries respectively.
New Zealand squad to face Wales, Ireland, Scotland and England:
John Afoa (Auckland), Dan Carter (Canterbury), Jerry Collins (Wellington), Jimmy Cowan (Southland), Jason Eaton (Taranaki), Rico Gear (Nelson Bays), Carl Hayman (Otago), Andrew Hore (Taranaki), Doug Howlett (Auckland), Chris Jack (Canterbury), Byron Kelleher (Waikato), Sione Lauaki (Waikato), Luke McAlister (North Harbour), Richie McCaw (Canterbury), Angus Macdonald (Auckland), Leon MacDonald (Canterbury), Chris Masoe (Taranaki), Aaron Mauger (Canterbury), Keven Mealamu (Auckland), Mils Muliaina (Auckland), Ma'a Nonu (Wellington), Anton Oliver (Otago), Joe Rokocoko (Auckland), James Ryan (Otago), Sitiveni Sivivatu (Waikato), Conrad Smith (Wellington), Greg Somerville (Canterbury), Rodney So'oialo (Wellington), Neemia Tialata (Wellington), Isaia Toeava (Auckland), Mose Tuiali'i (Canterbury), Tana Umaga (Wellington (Capt), Piri Weepu (Wellington), Ali Williams (Auckland), Tony Woodcock (North Harbour).