Ryan Crotty’s two-try return for Canterbury against Southland will put him in the frame for an All Black start against Tonga in Hamilton next Saturday.
The All Blacks coaches had asked him to play only 40 minutes in Christchurch and the midfielder’s first half in the 80-0 demolition of the Stags was just about as good as it gets for Crotty, who has been sidelined by a broken thumb.
He looked sharp in his first game back since the Crusaders’ semifinal victory over the Hurricanes on the same ground and now will be part of a selection process for the test at Waikato Stadium which could be among the most challenging of the lot.
Assuming Jack Goodhue’s hamstring, which he strained in Perth, has recovered, the two Crusaders players will jump to the top of the list of those who need game time the most.
This is your last chance to see the three-time Rugby World Cup winners play on home soil in 2019. The All Blacks will clash with Tonga on Saturday 7 September 2019 at FMG Stadium Waikato. The match sees a return to the tradition of afternoon rugby, with a 2.35pm kick off.
This match will be the All Blacks’ final hit-out before they travel to Japan for rugby’s global showpiece tournament – and their opportunity to become the first team in Rugby World Cup history to claim the William Webb Ellis Trophy three consecutive times
This is the only game which features a legendary curtain raiser. Carlos Spencer and DJ Forbes will be among a cast of Pacific Island and New Zealand rugby legends who will converge on Hamilton for a star-studded curtain raiser to the All Blacks v Tonga Test match at FMG Stadium Waikato on 7 September.