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All Blacks rookie Ethan De Groot asked coaches to debut this week

After four All Blacks enjoyed successful debuts last week, Highlanders prop Ethan de Groot is hoping he gets to do the same near his hometown this week - and he hasn't been shy about it.

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John Plumtree said the rookie prop told him his entire hometown of Gore would turn up to Dunedin if he's selected this week. Source: 1 NEWS

De Groot, born and raised in Gore, was the only All Black rookie not featured in last week's 102-0 demolition of Tonga in Auckland.

But with the All Blacks now flying down the country for this Saturday's Test against Fiji in Dunedin - a two-hour drive from his hometown - assistant coach John Plumtree said the 22-year-old has been in management's ear about a potential debut in Highlanders territory.

"He said to me yesterday the whole of Gore is coming up so he'd appreciate if he could be selected," a grinning Plumtree told media at training this morning.

"I told him, 'you'll have to wait until [team naming] on Thursday, buddy'."

Plumtree said De Groot was putting his best foot forward for selection though.

"He's jumping out of his skin to play and that's great - having that type of young enthusiasm in the team.

"He's been really good with us and he's improving all the time."

Ethan de Groot. Source: Getty

De Groot's selection this week could mean a lot for the front rower, having previously stated after his selection in Foster's 36-man squad last month that he hoped his naming could inspire others from his province, Southland, to stick to their roots instead of playing elsewhere in their quests to earn the black jersey.

"I'd like to think I can inspire parents and kids to stay in Southland and do their schooling in Southland," he said at the time.

"There is a pathway - it's tough and you're not in the limelight but it can be done.

"A lot of parents send their kids away out of the province and then they go on from there but hopefully I've inspired some people to stick to their roots and show it can be done."

Plumtree gave the debut some hope though, hinting there will be changes to the matchday 23 from last week's thrashing of Tonga.

"We'll make a few changes, definitely," he said this morning.

"We've got a squad that's pretty hungry to impress and we've got one more game after this before the Bledisloe Cup so these players all want to have a crack and we want to give them that opportunity."

This week's matchday 23 will be named by Foster on Thursday.