The All Blacks need new leaders to emerge as they begin their quest for Southern Hemisphere supremacy.
In the Sir Graham Henry reign the All Blacks were never short of leaders. It was in fact his famed leadership group who were the driving force behind Rugby World Cup glory.
The seven entrusted men - Richie McCaw, Daniel Carter, Conrad Smith, Keven Mealamu, Andrew Hore, Ali Williams and Brad Thorn - not only made the team's decisions on the field but also set the agenda off it.
But this group has more or less been cut in half as the All Blacks approach their first major examination of the Steve Hansen era against the Wallabies in Sydney on Saturday night.
The ageless Thorn, whose impact at the collision zone cannot be underestimated, is now just a fond memory while his long term locking partner, Ali Williams, is battling both form and injury.
Thorn and the another departed hit man, Jerome Kaino, were probably the difference between the All Blacks and the Wallabies when the two sides last met in RWC semi-final at Eden Park last October.
All night long they drove the Wallabies back at the contact area, slowing down their ball and hurting them while doing it. It was a lesson in physicality and without them now, the All Blacks look a little tender.
Romano, who has been picked ahead of Brodie Retallick for this Saturday's Rugby Championship opener, promises to one-day be the enforcer like Thorn, but it takes years not months to develop such a reputation.
Just ask Liam Messam, who has been dropped numerous times in his 10-Test career but has been thrown another lifeline in the number six jersey as the search for Kaino's long term replacement continues.
Both Adam Thomson and Victor Vito were given opportunities against Ireland but neither convinced they could play the hit man role that the blindside flanker has to bring in this day and age.
This Saturday therefore represents a big chance for Messam. The Chiefs co-captain has to prove he can make a strong impact as a leader, ball runner and a defensive strongman.
He can do it at Super Rugby level and it is time for the 28-year-old to do it at Test level and with McCaw and Kieran Read playing alongside him, he has every chance.
Read also needs to step up as a leader in this campaign. While no one could question his compelling form as one of the world's best number eights, as McCaw's likely successor, he has to take more ownership on and off the field.
But it is further out where the All Blacks' biggest leadership concerns are ahead of Saturday's Test.
The organiser of the backline defensive operation, Smith, is also battling injury and won't be available until the All Blacks host Argentina in Wellington on September 8.
The makeshift option of using Sonny Bill Williams with Ma'a Nonu in the midfield looks promising on paper, but questions remain about whether they can inspire a cohesive defensive unit.
With SBW off to greener pastures, the attention turns to Nonu. Capped 66 times, he is the most experienced outside back and it is time for him to emerge as a true All Black leader.
ALL BLACKS: Israel Dagg, Cory Jane, Ma'a Nonu, Sonny Bill Williams, Hosea Gear, Dan Carter, Aaron Smith, Kieran Read, Richie McCaw (captain), Liam Messam, Sam Whitelock, Luke Romano, Owen Franks, Keven Mealamu, Tony Woodcock.
Reserves: Andrew Hore, Ben Franks, Brodie Retallick, Victor Vito, Piri Weepu, Aaron Cruden, Ben Smith.