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Hansen urges All Blacks trio to stay

NZN 28/11/2016 By Angelo Risso

All Blacks boss Steve Hansen has called on a trio of squad stalwarts to commit to New Zealand rugby, saying they need to decide if their time in the black jersey is up.

Israel Dagg, Aaron Cruden and vice-captain Ben Smith are all thought to be fielding lucrative offers from Europe, with 27-year-old Cruden reportedly mulling over an approach from Montpellier.

Crusaders fullback Dagg, 28, has also been linked with Irish giants Leinster and several French clubs.

Hansen, who omitted Dagg from last year's World Cup squad and lost Cruden to injury, said on Wednesday that the pair would both go to Japan in 2019 on current form.

The same applied for 30-year-old Smith, who has also attracted interest from French clubs.

"All three of them have to work out if they think their story is finished," Hansen said.

"From my point of view, all three of them still have a lot to deliver and give to this team."

Hansen's case is fortified by the examples of ex-All Blacks such as Dan Carter, Ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith, who have snared lucrative deals in France in their mid-30s.

He said the money would always be there for players if they continue to produce the goods at Test level.

"Whatever anyone gets offered today, it'll be twice as much tomorrow because that's just the way it is," Hansen said.

"The money has tripled or quadrupled in five years, so if (Dagg) was to stay and play as well as he's playing, they'll still want him to go when he's finished at the World Cup."

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