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Hansen likes Ponga code switch

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All Blacks would welcome Ponga code switch, says Hansen

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen says the All Blacks would be likely to take an interest in Kalyn Ponga should the emerging NRL star defect to rugby union.

Born in Australia to New Zealand parents, Ponga, 20, has impressed for the Newcastle Knights this season, earning a Queensland State of Origin appearance in his debut campaign.

The fullback this week indicated he could be open to a code switch in the future, and Hansen, speaking to a news conference as he confirmed his team for the second Test of the Bledisloe Cup, welcomed the prospect.

“I quite like watching league, I’ve got a son that plays it and therefore [I’m] interested in it,” he said.

“He [Ponga]’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 had set alarm bells ringing in NRL this week when he told TVNZ: “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.

“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.”

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All Blacks would welcome Ponga code switch, says Hansen