Australian league star on All Blacks radar

2018-08-23 07:29
Steve Hansen (Getty)

Auckland - The world champion All Blacks confirmed on 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 cach 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. 

Hansen said that if Ponga chose to switch, "of course whoever is around at that time would definitely be interested, because he's a talented athlete". 

Should Ponga make the move and chase All Blacks fame it would undoubtedly hurt both Australian rugby and New Zealand league. 

He has already rejected a call to play league for New Zealand, preferring to align with Australia. 

But with rugby union, he has no wish to play for Australia where there is a shallow pool of talent compared with New Zealand. 

The pathway to move from league in Australia to union in New Zealand has already been travelled by lock Brad Thorn, who played three times for the Australian national league team before switching codes and playing 59 Tests for New Zealand.

Read more on:    all blacks  |  rugby


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


The 2019/20 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs

After 3 weeks of Super Rugby action, which South African team appears most likely to challenge for overall honours?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.