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Blues

Versatile Piutau could play centre

20th January 2014 07:46

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Talent: Charles Piutau

All Blacks wing Charles Piutau is open to slotting in at outside centre for the Blues if it will help the team's chances this season.

Piutau has worn the 15, 14 and 11 jerseys for the Auckland-based franchise but has been tipped to shift infield, forming a potential centre partnership with Ma'a Nonu.

The Blues are hardly short of backline options with Francis Saili and Nonu already in the centres along with Jackson Willison and Pita Ahki, with Frank Halai, George Moala, Lolagi Visinia and Benji Marshall all offering Piutau competition in the back three.

However the impressive 22-year-old caught the eye on New Zealand's tour of Europe last November and will be expected to start somewhere in the Blues' backline. The only questions are where, and whether it would affect his selection for New Zealand.

"I said I was open to playing centre," Piutau told Fairfax Media.

"At the same time it depends on where the All Blacks saw me. I don't want to be playing in a position that's going to hinder my chances. I want to be practising a position to get better at it

"In the All Blacks I really enjoyed playing on the wing. Before I didn't see it that way. Playing at that level, I had fun. Coming back to the Blues, I don't mind where I play."

Piutau also expressed caution at switching between positions on a regular basis, with stability important ahead of the Rugby World Cup in England next year.

"Understanding different roles, it's easy to get them mixed up," added Piutau.

"It's always tough to go into a new position. There are always expectations to slot in straight away."

"[The Rugby World Cup] doesn't seem too far away, that's why this year is so important, leading into something like that. I just want to play."

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