Shaun Stevenson's All Blacks XV omission fuels NRL rumours
Chiefs and North Harbour outside back Shaun Stevenson has been one of New Zealand’s premier talents in recent seasons, therefore his omission from the All Blacks XV has sparked conversation and speculation around his playing future.
Stevenson joined the Chiefs in 2016 and has since provided a wealth of highlight plays regardless of where coaches have played him, as well as developing his all-round game to contribute well defensively and utilise his huge kicking game well territorially.
Stevenson’s play for the Maori All Blacks against Ireland during this years July series was the big amplifier in discussions around his test-level potential.
Ex-All Black Jeff Wilson shared what rumours he’d heard around Stevenson’s plans for the future on Sky Sport NZ’s The Breakdown.
“Well look if you went on form,” Wilson said. “And not just form through Super Rugby when he came back from injury, and then he played for the Maori All Blacks and then played for North Harbour… I’m just telling you his credentials for the fact that I’m hearing he’s not part of this squad going forward because he’s pending a move to Rugby League and the NRL.
“When you start hearing these things, and I’ve heard it from multiple sources, you start going here’s a guy who maybe looked at his future and said ‘you know what, if I’m not part of the best…’ Can you blame him?
“He’s a wonderful talent.”
The NRL’s expansion franchise, the Redcliffe Dolphins are the rumoured recipients of Stevenson’s interest, with reports claiming they team were looking to rugby union for some playmaking talent to compliment their physical pack.
When the All Blacks XV team was announced last Monday, Stevenson’s absence was the first that many fans questioned.
Furthering the confusion was the selection of just three outside backs in a 28 man squad, Ian Foster would later enlighten the public to his plans for several young All Blacks players to feature for the XV side, hence the smaller team.
Fans will still await confirmation of which came first – Stevenson’s omission from the All Blacks development team or his suspected switch of codes.
Former Black Ferns midfielder Chelsea Semple was in agreement that Stevenson had made as compelling a case for higher honours as could be expected.
“What more can he do to get in at least the All Blacks XV?” she said.
“So, he’s thinking ‘where else is there an opportunity for me to shine?'”
Join free and tell us what you really think!Join Free