James Mortimer 07.Aug.2012Getty Images
Aaron Smith has risen above them all, and the Highlanders halfback started all three of the All Blacks tests during the Steinlager Series against Ireland, and looks to be given the chance to continue his new career as New Zealand incumbent number nine.
Blues halfback Piri Weepu has again been included in the squad for the Investec Rugby Championship, and Hansen said that experience was a massive factor behind the veteran’s selection, especially considering Smith’s age and mere three-test caps.
Kerr-Barlow over the weekend became an Investec Super Rugby winner, and his roaring form did not go unnoticed by the selectors.
In the same way that TJ Perenara hogged headlines earlier in the season, Kerr-Barlow looks to be one of the future breed for the All Blacks at halfback – with the Chiefs nine likely to have a compelling battle in the coming years between Smith and Perenara in the years to come.
Selecting two rookie halfbacks would have been risky considering the toughness of the opposition in the Investec Rugby Championship, and while Hansen felt Kerr-Barlow’s time wasn’t far off, big match experience that Weepu possessed was a big part of selection for matches against the Springboks, Pumas and Wallabies.