'He is a stand out' – Steve Hansen defends selection of La Rochelle bound Kerr-Barlow

Source: 1News

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has defended the selection of Tawera Kerr-Barlow in his end of year tour squad, before the halfback joins French club La Rochelle.

In the past, Hansen and the All Blacks have stayed away from selecting players already signed to overseas clubs, although they have made an exception in this case.

"To be really honest, if we were really clear on who the next halfback was then we probably wouldn't have (selected Kerr-Barlow)," Hansen said.

"He is a good player - I think he's been very unlucky to have competed in the same era as Aaron Smith and TJ (Perenara)."

"He's contracted until the end of it (the Northern tour), and our job is to pick the best team we can for New Zealand the All Blacks and that's what we've done."

All Blacks squad:

Forwards: Asafo Aumua, Dane Coles, Nathan Harris, Codie Taylor, Wyatt Crockett, Kane Hames, Nepo Laulala, Tim Perry, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Ofa Tu'ungafasi, Scott Barrett, Luke Romano, Patrick Tuipulotu, Samuel Whitelock, Sam Cane, Vaea Fifita, Jerome Kaino, Kieran Read, Ardie Savea, Liam Squire, Matt Todd.

Backs: Tawera Kerr–Barlow, TJ Perenara, Aaron Smith, Beauden Barrett, Lima Sopoaga, Ryan Crotty, Jack Goodhue, Ngani Laumape, Anton Lienert-Brown, Sonny Bill Williams, David Havili, Matt Duffie, Rieko Ioane, Damian McKenzie, Waisake Naholo, Seta Tamanivalu.

All Blacks' Northern tour:
November 5: All Blacks v Barbarians, London
November 12: All Blacks v France, Paris
November 15: All Blacks v French XV, Lyon
November 19: All Blacks v Scotland, Edinburgh
November 26: All Blacks v Wales, Cardiff