Hurricanes head coach Chris Boyd insists that Julian Savea's omission from the squad to face the Kings in Wellington on Friday is merely an opportunity to give other players a chance.
The winger's form and fitness have come under fire in recent weeks and the All Black hasn't scored a try in the four rounds of this year's Super Rugby competition, but Boyd maintains that Savea wasn't dropped due to his stale condition.
"There's no smokescreens here, it's just an opportunity for us to give some time to those other boys," Boyd told Stuff.
"I think for him to have little blocks out of the game is good for him."
The Hurricanes mentor did however admit that Savea hasn't been in his best shape.
"It would be fair to say in that month or six weeks post the World Cup, that he probably wasn't as disciplined as he could've been around keeping up some of his work," said Boyd.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen was less tactful regarding Savea's physical state and described the 25-year-old as "overweight" when he joined the All Blacks last year.
Hurricanes strength and conditioning coach David Gray has recently adjusted Savea's training programme and Boyd has said that there are no fitness or weight-related targets that Savea has to reach before they square off with the Jaguares on April 9 following their bye.
"He [Savea] would be the first person to say that he hasn't been in vintage form, but it's a long season and we've seen touches of what's coming," added Boyd.
"We have a high expectation of Julian every time he takes the field. It's the same as all the prominent players, the expectation's high."