Kahui still remains in All Blacks frame

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James Mortimer     08 Apr 2013     Getty Images

Kahui made a dramatic statement last week with a stunning performance in the midfield, ensuring that many lamented the fact that the powerful centre seems to have lost none of his qualities despite his recent injuries, and is about to head off shore.

His move to Japan came as something of a surprise to Hansen, but the All Blacks coach confirmed that while the unbreakable code of New Zealand rugby – selection of players only who ply their trade on Kiwi shores – will remain untouched, he will consider Kahui for the first Test matches of 2013.

It continues the theme of Hansen selecting the best players even if they have signalled their intentions to play elsewhere, think Sonny Bill Williams last season.

Hansen said to the Sunday Star-Times that despite one of New Zealand’s best midfielders leaving in his prime, he said he would consider him despite All Blacks management not being fully aware of the Japanese move when announced.

"He knows we are frustrated (with the recently completed contract process) and if he had his time again he'd do it differently,” Hansen said.

"History has proven over a number of years in the All Blacks that players have been selected in different circumstances."

While Kahui was, according to the man himself, a centre first and foremost, Hansen felt that Kahui would be better to duplicate his performances during 2011, which saw him seal a starting wing position for the then World Champions elect.

While Cory Jane is out, his partner during the tournament, there is plenty of competition on the outside flanks, with Julian Savea probably the form wing in Investec Super Rugby, and Hansen hinted at Kahui being included in the ultra-competitive selection race for All Blacks wingmen.

"Personally I think his best position internationally is on the wing," Hansen said.

"His skills set is such that he's great under the high ball. He's a big ball carrier and he gets the opportunity on the wing to roam.