Hansen confirms SBW is in selection picture

Getty Images

James Mortimer     29 Jul 2012     Getty Images

Hansen told TVNZ that the Chiefs midfielder could line up for the opening back-to-back tests against the Wallabies, despite the fact that Williams recently declared he will take up a contract in Japan, before taking up what appears to be a league contract in Australia. next season.

Ordinarily players who are taking up options overseas are not considered for selection, but New Zealand Rugby Union CEO Steve Tew said that due to Williams Super Rugby representation, he was still eligible to be named in the All Blacks squad.

A 28-man squad will be named on August 5, before the opening Bledisloe Cup match against the Wallabies in Sydney.

Hurricanes centre Conrad Smith will be unavailable with an eye injury, undergoing surgery to attach a damaged retina, and is expected to be out of action for six weeks.

Smith joins Richard Kahui on the sidelines, meaning that the All Blacks recent plentiful stocks in the centres have taken a hit before the new incarnation of the Tri Nations begins.

It was believed that Williams command performance in the All Blacks 60-0 win over Ireland was his last match in a Black jersey, but his continued strong form for the Chiefs will mean that Hansen won't hesitate to call up arguably the form second five-eighth in Super Rugby.

Recent squad members in Ma'a Nonu and Tamati Ellison could form the All Blacks midfield, while there is talk that Highlanders utility back Ben Smith could be an option.

At second five-eighth there is also the Crusaders Ryan Crotty, and the Hurricanes Tim Bateman.