Wallabies and All Blacks head coaches Dave Rennie and Ian Foster discuss Tawera Kerr-Barlow’s bid to represent Australia. Watch a live Rugby Championship double-header live on Sky Sports Arena & Main Event from 6:20am Saturday.
Last Updated: 25/08/22 12:36pm
Australia boss Dave Rennie has good memories of coaching Tawera Kerr-Barlow at the Waikato Chiefs but says it may be hard to fulfil the former New Zealand scrum-half’s wish to represent his Wallabies team.
Melbourne-born Kerr-Barlow, who was capped 29 times for the All Blacks and won the 2015 World Cup with them, is eligible to play for Australia after a World Rugby rule change that allows players to switch allegiance.
Now playing for French club La Rochelle, Kerr-Barlow told French media on Wednesday he would jump at the chance to play for Australia if their staff called him up.
Rennie said Kerr-Barlow had contacted him a few months ago offering his services but the coach could see little room for him in the short term with the likes of Nic White and Tate McDermott available.
“At the moment we’ll be loyal to the guys we’ve got,” Rennie told reporters on Thursday.
“It’s probably our strongest position. To be fair, we’ve got three excellent nines here and Ryan Lonergan in behind that but as we’ve seen this year, things can change quickly.
“So I’ll certainly keep in contact with Tawera. And yeah, it’s a hell of a resource behind what we’ve already got.”
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Kerr-Barlow, whose New Zealand-born mother played scrum-half for Australia in the 1990s, was Rennie’s starting No 9 at the Chiefs when they won back-to-back Super Rugby titles in 2012-13.
He later came off the bench in the 2015 World Cup final in England to help the All Blacks beat Australia 34-17 before heading to France in 2018.
Rennie is limited to picking only three overseas-based players in his Wallabies squad per series or competition, which is another obstacle for Kerr-Barlow.
“Tawera’s been making a big chunk of change over at La Rochelle, so that’s where his future lies,” said Rennie.
Foster: It would be a bit funny
Current All Blacks coach Ian Foster was uncomfortable with the idea of Kerr-Barlow playing for the Wallabies given his New Zealand history.
“All I know is the beauty that he brought into the All Blacks camp, he’s a quality person and quality rugby player, so there is no judgement on that decision,” he told reporters.
“But what I remember from him is the influence he had in our environment, which is fantastic. To kind of think of that going somewhere else is a bit funny.”
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