All Blacks likely to name "fresh blood" in midfield

Getty Images

James Mortimer     13 May 2013     Getty Images

Hansen all but confirmed that the All Blacks will welcome a new midfielder to their ranks for the Steinlager Series, with further intrigue coming from the fact that a potential candidate in Tim Nanai-Williams, has a stomach ulcer and won't be available until after June.

While Rene Ranger is an option, he is heading to Montpellier but there is whisper that All Blacks selection will see his future plans changed, but there are other players wearing Blues colours this season that could force their way into Test selection.

In a perfect world Hansen will name his normal starting combination, with Ma'a Nonu and Smith pairing up against France the most ideal situation, beyond blooding new talent, for the All Blacks.

However there will be no rush for the return of Smith, who will tread carefully considering the nature of his injury.

Hansen told the NZ Herald that Nonu's knee complaint, which Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph confirmed had haunted him for most of the season, would be OK to stand up to the rigours of three Tests against Les Bleus if required.

"We know Ma'a's knee will come right in time to play France," he said.

"We are not sure where Conrad is at and we won't be putting any pressure on him to play until he is ready.

Hansen reconfirmed that the All Blacks would have used a fit Kahui on the wing, but said now was the time for a new player to make his mark.

"Richard probably would have played wing for us," Hansen said, denying his use in the centres.

"So the injury situation is what it is."

"We will be looking for some fresh blood and that is hugely exciting for those guys who want to play at this level."