Hansen backing Perenara at ten

Date published: October 1 2015

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen believes scrum-half TJ Perenara has what it takes to be a useful number ten should he have to fulfill the role.

With pivots Beauden Barrett and Colin Slade injured, Dan Carter has to start at fly-half for the All Blacks when they take on Georgia at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on Friday.

This leaves Perenara, who was named on the bench, as the only real back-up at ten for the defending champions. The scrum-half was overjoyed when Hansen gave him the news.

"He was pretty excited," quipped Hansen, who added that the position is not completely foreign to him.

"He's played New Zealand School Boys there. He played there when we played each other back in Auckland so it's not something that's new to him.

"He's also going to kick the goals if he has to come on. It will give him something else to think about."

Meanwhile, fellow number nine Aaron Smith has seen Perenara kick the ball off the tee and believes the Hurricanes star can do the job, even though he wouldn't mind having a crack himself.

"If you watch TJ kick he is a very good striker of the ball off the tee," said the Highlanders scrum-half.

"With our runs at training this week you could tell there's a lot more communication, a lot clearer. He's telling you exactly what he would want if he was playing halfback.

"He stands quite wide so I had to give him a few words about reeling him in but he's a guy that physically he could play anywhere.

"It will be good if he gets a shot at goal and maybe burns a bridge so maybe I get a shot."