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All Blacks Eye Hayman Meeting

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
All Blacks Eye Hayman Meeting

By Mark Geenty of NZPA

Cardiff, Nov 3 NZPA - The All Blacks plan to meet with prop Carl Hayman to roll out the welcome mat and have sounded out other British-based rugby World Cup contenders to declare their availability by mid-next year.

The 45-test veteran, 29, is playing his trade with Newcastle in the English premiership and has left the door open to return to New Zealand in time for the 2011 World Cup.

It's not rocket science to deduce the All Blacks would welcome back one of the most damaging tighthead props in world rugby, and assistant coach Wayne Smith said Hayman's options would be made clear.

"I think Carl will probably join the team at some stage to say g'day to the guys," Smith said today.

"But he's the sort of guy who makes his own mind up, he's not the sort of guy you coerce into anything.

"And you don't want players to be talked into coming back, you want players who really want to come back.

"Carl knows that he'd be welcome back. He's been a great All Black and we love him. He's just got to make his own mind up."

Hayman was the highest-profile of several leading All Blacks to accept big-money offers after the 2007 World Cup.

Five-eighth Luke McAlister returned this year and, despite some injury worries and indifferent form, was rushed back into the All Blacks.

Lock Chris Jack has also stated a desire to push for a World Cup spot in next year's Super 14.

Smith said the All Blacks selectors were in touch with other British-based players who were seen as contenders to return to the black jersey.

He wouldn't name them, but the likes of Nick Evans and Aaron Mauger would be high on the list.

"We've talked to a lot of the players over here who we thought were a possibility of coming back. Then you've got to leave them to decide what they want to do," Smith said.

"You'd want them back by the middle of next year to give them a decent crack at it."

Smith insisted there was no coercing, and that players had to prove they were still competitive at test level and "back themselves".

He cut McAlister some slack after he made an indifferent return to test rugby in the June series, then was ruled out of last Saturday's Bledisloe Cup test with an ankle injury.

"With Luke it was purely injuries. He didn't play for about three months, worked really hard, played in the Barbarians game but he wasn't back at the level you would expect and he couldn't get footy under the belt because he kept getting injured."

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