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All Blacks Selectors Ask Kahui To Shift To 12

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Fuseworks Media
All Blacks Selectors Ask Kahui To Shift To 12

Wellington, May 26 NZPA - Richard Kahui is looming as a potential All Blacks second five-eighth next month after the national selectors requested he play a Hamilton club rugby match at No 12 this weekend.

Kahui's Te Rapa club confirmed the eight-test All Black would shift from his regular spot at centre to second five-eighth this weekend after the national selectors made contact.

"Me personally, and I know the club, would support that. It's an absolute no-brainer, Richie playing at 12 this weekend," Te Rapa coach Gary Crossman told One News.

"If I was coaching the All Black side with Richie starting at 12, I think he'd be an asset, no problem there at all."

Kahui played his eight tests all in 2008, at either centre or wing, before injury ruined his 2009 season and Conrad Smith reaffirmed himself as the first-choice No 13.

But with a knee injury sidelining incumbent second-five Ma'a Nonu for six weeks, and his potential replacement Isaia Toeava out for up to six months with a hip problem that requires surgery, the All Blacks selectors have a tough decision.

Henry admitted yesterday that he and Steve Hansen and Wayne Smith hadn't yet decided on their No 12 for their opening test of the year against Ireland in New Plymouth on June 12.

"We've just got to pick a guy we think can handle the demands," Henry told reporters.

"Some (contenders) haven't had experience of international rugby, and some have. What we've got to do is get somebody we know will do the business for us, rather than think maybe he could be a superstar, but he could embarrass himself too."

That suggested they were considering someone with a few tests under their belt, which leaves Kahui and injury-prone Blues five-eighth Luke McAlister.

The latter struggled for form and battled niggly injuries during the Super 14, while Kahui also wasn't at his best in the No 13 jersey for the battling Chiefs.

Other options at 12 are Kahui's Chiefs teammate Stephen Donald, primarily a first-five who shifted out a spot in this year's Super 14 before suffering a calf injury, and the Blues' Benson Stanley who was solid for the Auckland-based franchise this year.

 

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