All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen has taken note of the early season form of Damian McKenzie, amongst others.
Hansen is already planning ahead for New Zealand’s three-Test series against Wales in June later this year.
Highlighting the good form of McKenzie, Super Rugby’s top try scorer with six – and also Charlie Ngatai following his four-try performance against the Force on Saturday – Hansen revealed that he’s looking for consistency from those players trying to make the breakthrough into Test rugby.
“There’s some guys that we’ve been watching for a wee while that have been impressive. Charlie Ngatai, Elliot Dixon and Damian McKenzie are all playing well. There’s also some others,” Hansen told Stuff.
“It’s just a matter of sitting back and watching and seeing if they can sustain it. When the real pressure comes on later in the season can they do it then?
“That gives us a better idea of whether they can do it at All Black level.”
Hansen elaborated on the form of McKenzie by adding that a key decision would be where to deploy the Chiefs star, who has excelled at full-back so far in 2016.
“He’s got to keep playing well and then we’ve got to make a decision about where we play him,” Hansen explained.
“It’s not a certainty but so far he’s proving to be pretty handy. I don’t think he’ll play on the wing.
“Wing at the moment is a bit of a crisis because you’ve got so many people injured in the back three.
“We’ll have to wait and see who puts their hand up and how Waisake comes back from injury. Israel [Dagg] is due to come back shortly too. We’ll be looking forward to seeing them play.”