All Blacks great Buck Shelford is tipping rookie loose forward Luke Jacobson for a successful career in the black jersey, having been one of the bolters in Steve Hansen's side to travel to this year's Rugby World Cup in Japan.
With Liam Squire having made himself unavailable, Jacobson finds himself in the role of the All Blacks' "enforcer" heading into the World Cup, despite only having been capped just once at Test level.
However, even though Jacobson finds himself as the most inexperienced member of the All Blacks' squad, former Test loose forward Shelford is confident that Japan 2019 will be the start of a long career in the black jersey for the 22-year-old.
"They've picked a good side," Shelford said.
"There was that one surprise from the Chiefs [Jacobson], and I rate him quite highly myself."
Shelford also cast aside any worries that Jacobson is simply a back-up for Squire, saying that he's earned his spot.
"It was whether the big fella from Nelson [Squire] was going to be available or not more than anything else. He didn't make himself available.
"He's [Jacobson] a good player, a very good player. I rate him, he's going to be in the All Blacks for a very long time, I reckon. The loose forward trio is pretty good - I rate them highly.
"If they ever had any injuries in those positions, you could always call the big fella in from Nelson."
Jacobson could add to his one-Test appearance this weekend, with the All Blacks taking on Tonga in Hamilton on Saturday afternoon.
That side will be named tomorrow morning NZT.