Ponga loves the All Blacks, and the feeling is mutual
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Ponga loves the All Blacks, and the feeling is mutual

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has made it clear Kalyn Ponga's admiration for the rugby union world champions is reciprocated.

Emerging as the brightest new face of the NRL, Ponga rang alarm bells in rugby league this week when he discussed the possibility of trying to play for the All Blacks in future.

Big wraps: Kalyn Ponga said earlier this week he would love to play for the All Blacks, and the All Blacks would love to have him.

Big wraps: Kalyn Ponga said earlier this week he would love to play for the All Blacks, and the All Blacks would love to have him.Credit:AAP

Asked on Thursday if 20-year-old Ponga - who described the All Blacks as the best sporting organisation in the world - was on his radar, Hansen made no bones about it.

"You've got to be aware of him, he's a special player," Hansen said. "I quite like watching league. I've got a son that plays it and therefore I'm interested in it and he's [Ponga] had a super Origin.

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"He's a Kiwi boy and he's just come out and said maybe one day he might want to come and play rugby.

"So if that's his choice when he makes that choice, then of course whoever's around at that time would definitely be interested because he's a talented athlete."

Speaking as his all-conquering team prepared for the second Bledisloe Cup Test against the Wallabies, Hansen was asked if he watched the NRL for talent or waited for players to come across to rugby union first?

"I watch all sport. I probably watch more (other) sport than I do rugby," he said. "I see rugby every Saturday so it's nice to look at something different and pinch their ideas. There's a lot of things we can learn off each other and I don't say that disrespectfully to rugby.

"That's what I do for a job. So to get some light relief or down time, apart from my family, I look at sport. The NRL's good. I like it."

AAP