TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 27: Kalyn Ponga of the Knights is tackled by Jake Clifford of the Cowboys during the round 20 NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Newcastle Knights at 1300SMILES Stadium on July 27, 2018 in Townsville, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said his team would be interested in acquiring Newcastle Knights star Kalyn Ponga.

The 20-year old revealed earlier in the week that should he ever leave the NRL, playing for the All Blacks would be the “pinnacle”.

“Obviously, that (playing for the All Blacks) would be a huge goal, if I was to come back to union I’d want to tick,” Ponga told

“But I’m not too sure what my future holds whether I’m going to stay in league or change codes.

“But if I was to go back to rugby union I’d probably want to strive for that black jumper, it’s the pinnacle.”

And it seems that Hansen would welcome Ponga with open arms, speaking on Thursday morning ahead of the Second Bledisloe Cup Test at Eden Park.

“I thought I’d get away without having to answer this,” a jocular Hansen told reporters.

“You’ve got to be aware of him, he’s a special player.

“I quite like watching league. I’ve got a son that plays it and therefore interested in it.

“He’s had a super Origin, he’s a Kiwi boy and he’s just come out and said maybe one day he might want to come and play rugby.

“If that’s his choice, when he makes that choice, then of course whoever is around at that time would definitely be interested because he’s a talented athlete.”

Ponga, born in Western Australia to Maori parents, grew up in New Zealand before heading back to Australia in his early teens.

“They’re the best sporting organisation in the world, stats have showed that,” Ponga said of the All Blacks.

“And the way they hold themselves, their values, their morals, the little things they do make them that step above everyone else,” he said.

“To put that jersey on would be special.”

The Queensland Origin representative is contracted at Newcastle until the end of the 2021 season.


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