AUCKLAND – The world-champion All Blacks confirmed Thursday they have one of rugby league's hottest properties, Kalyn Ponga, on their radar and are ready to talk if he seriously wants to switch codes.
The 20-year-old Newcastle Knights back is Australia-born but of Kiwi parents and while enjoying a standout year in Australia's National Rugby League he has publicly mused about switching to the rival rugby union, a game he played as a child.
“If I was to go back to rugby union I'd probably want to strive for that black jumper... playing at the pinnacle has always been my goal,” he told Television New Zealand this week.
And he has a big fan in All Blacks coach Steve Hansen. “You've got to be aware of him, he's a special player,” Hansen said on Thursday.
“I quite like watching league. I've got a son that plays it,” he added, praising Ponga's “super” performance in the State of Origin series.