All Blacks kingpins Richie McCaw and Dan Carter have welcomed the prospect of Sonny Bill Williams extending his Test rugby career.
The New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) this week raised the possibility of Williams playing the first two Tests of the Rugby Championship against Australia even though he is about to farewell the country.
Game-breaking inside centre Williams, who has signed a lucrative contract with a Japanese club starting later this year, has not been available this week to comment.
He remained off-limits to media on Friday night despite a standout performance for the Chiefs in their Super Rugby semi-final defeat of the Crusaders.
Earlier Friday All Blacks coach Steve Hansen endorsed the sentiment of NZRU chief executive Steve Tew. Hansen said it would be foolish to ignore the option of selecting Williams in the wake of an eye injury suffered by veteran outside centre Conrad Smith who will miss the two Wallabies Tests in Sydney and Auckland.
All Blacks skipper McCaw was asked for comment shortly after leading the Crusaders to defeat in Hamilton.
“If he’s available – you saw the way he played tonight – and if he’s keen then I don’t see that being a problem.
“Losing a guy like Conrad, who’s pretty experienced, to have a guy like Sonny would be a positive.”
Carter echoed those thoughts, relishing the prospect of a midfield comprising Williams and Ma’a Nonu outside him.
“They’re pretty important matches first up.
“If he’s available and can play, it would be huge for us, especially with Conrad being out.”
It is understood the All Blacks selectors were meeting this weekend to discuss Williams’ status.