It has taken Troy Flavell just one week to convince All Blacks coach Graham Henry that he has what it takes to be the All Blacks No 6 flanker.
And if that does happen in June, the brutal Jerry Collins could be back at No 8 — the position from which he tormented the Springboks in the 2003 World Cup quarter-final victory.
Flavell, capped twice at No 6 for the All Blacks in 2001, is back in New Zealand after 18 months of playing in Japan. He played for the Blues against the Reds and afterwards Henry told the Sunday News that Collins could be switched to No 8 if Flavell shows consistency in the No 6 jersey for the Blues.
“It’s possible that Jerry could take on that role,” Henry told Sunday News. “He has the ability to do that job. He’s a world-class player. He used to be too one-dimensional but he has taken that on board and developed his attacking game and his defence.
“He is much more disciplined in defence these days. He is much more multi-dimensional on attack, he keeps the ball alive, takes the ball up and last week he put in a kick that led to a try.”
Henry, a big fan of Flavell’s, has warned the player that he will only pick disciplined players.
“We need to be open-minded about whether he can make it back into the All Blacks,” Henry said. “There is huge competition for places right across the park and Troy adds to that competition. Look at No 8. There’s Jerry, Rodney, Mose Tuiali’i, Sione Lauaki and Steve Bates. It’s a very good position for New Zealand rugby to be in.”