Wallabies coach Michael Cheika is hopeful David Pocock will make his long awaited comeback in the second Bledisloe Cup match as the star flanker tries to prove he's fit enough to play at the World Cup.
Pocock has ramped up his training in Perth this week, completing most of the Wallabies' sessions albeit on a slightly modified program.
Pocock, widely regarded as one of the world's best players when fit, has been battling a calf injury for the past five months and played just three games for the ACT Brumbies in his last Super Rugby season.
He has been left out of the squad to play against New Zealand on Saturday night, but Cheika said everyone had their sights set on playing in Auckland next week.
"There was never [a chance for Pocock to play this week], we're focusing on the next one," Cheika said.
"He's trained all week with the team now. Slightly modified, but it's as much as he's done with the team. He'll train fully [on Thursday].
"I'm hoping he will be available for next week. What we've tried to do with David is not set a day, because that's what happened throughout the [Brumbies] season. We kept trying to get him back for that day.
"We kept pushing and fell short every time. We'll tick the next milestone, which is today, and if he gets through that we'll see how he lands."
Cheika has tinkered with his side again, dropping Tevita Kuridrani and replacing him with James O'Connor at outside centre.
The move has raised eyebrows given O'Connor has played every position in the Wallabies back line in his controversial career, but his outside centre experience is minimal.
Christian Lealiifano will start at flyhalf again, with Nic White returning to the No. 9 jersey and Brumbies player of the year Allan Alaalatoa making his comeback from a foot injury.
Folau Faingaa has been shifted to the bench, with Tolu Latu to instead start at hooker, while Tom Banks gets his opportunity to shine off the bench.
Asked why O'Connor got the nod, Cheika said: "Just a different set-up in the midfield. Samu and Tevita have played together there over the first couple of games ... and I think James will bring something a little bit different that we haven't seen and definitely our opponents won't have seen either.
"There will be certain set-piece requirements that he'll need to fill there and then after that it's just being there and playing footy ... that's what he's good at. He is very solid in his defensive work over the training time [with the Wallabies] and the footage I have seen of him from over in the UK.
"I have had a lot of faith in him."
Saturday: Australia v New Zealand at Perth, 7.45pm.
Wallabies: 1. Scott Sio, 2. Tolu Latu, 3. Allan Alaalatoa, 4. Izack Rodda, 5. Rory Arnold, 6. Lukhan Sakakai-Loto, 7. Michael Hooper (c), 8. Isi Naisarani, 9. Nic White, 10. Christian Lealiifano, 11. Marika Koroibete, 12. Samu Kerevi, 13. James O'Connor, 14. Reece Hodge, 15. Kurtley Beale. Reserves: Folau Faingaa, James Slipper, Taniela Tupou, Adam Coleman, Luke Jones, Will Genia, Matt Toomua, Tom Banks.
All Blacks: 1. Joe Moody, 2. Dane Coles, 3. Owen Franks, 4. Scott Barrett, 5. Samuel Whitelock, 6. Ardie Savea, 7. Sam Cane, 8. Kieran Read (c), 9. Aaron Smith, 10. Richie Mo'unga, 11. Rieko Ioane, 12. Anton Lienert-Brown, 13. Jack Goodhue, 14. Ben Smith, 15. Beauden Barrett. Reserves: Codie Taylor, Atu Moli, Angus Ta'avao, Patrick Tuipulotu, Matt Todd, TJ Perenara, Ngani Laumape, George Bridge.