All Blacks Ryan Crotty and Matt Proctor in sights of Chris Boyd at English club Northampton

2019-01-06 01:02:44

Former Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd is considering a move for either Ryan Crotty or Matt Proctor, according to reports in the UK.

Northampton boss Boyd needs a centre to replace former Wallaby Rob Horne, who was forced to retire last year after he sustained a life-changing arm injury.

He has narrowed down his search to All Blacks Crotty and Proctor, Springbok Jesse Kriel and England midfielder Jonathan Joseph, the Daily Mail reports.

Crotty and Proctor are among the plethora of All Blacks coming off contract in 2019, with more than 25 players yet to decide on their futures after the Rugby World Cup.

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) chief executive Steve Tew told Stuff in August there is a "big bunch" of players off-contract at the end of 2019, and convincing them to stick around for less money than they can demand overseas would be challenging.

Unlike the current World Cup cycle, there is no British and Irish Lions tour pancaked in the middle of the next cycle for NZR to use as a negotiating tool.

"Inevitably, there will be some players who we don't keep who are currently in that jersey," Tew said.

While Crotty, who has been a loyal servant to the Crusaders and All Blacks, would likely go with the blessing of NZR, Boyd's recruitment of Proctor would not go down well.

Proctor won his first All Blacks cap against Japan last year and has been widely recognised as one of the country's best midfielders.

At 26 years old, Proctor is entering what should be the peak years of his career and is a key man within the Hurricanes set-up.

However, Boyd has not been shy of voicing his admiration for Proctor in the past, labelling him "the best centre in New Zealand" last year.

Crotty is likely to make the All Blacks' Rugby World Cup squad but has been troubled in the past by concussion and will turn 31 at the tournament in Japan, making it likely that he will find a change of scenery appealing.

If Crotty does depart, the door will open for Proctor to add to his solitary cap in the black jersey.

All Blacks captain Kieran Read has already announced his intention to move on after the Rugby World Cup while Proctor's Hurricanes team-mate Nehe Milner-Skudder will join Toulon.

NZR has made it clear that these are challenging times for player retention but won a key battle in the war by retaining the services of flanker Ardie Savea, who had been courted by French club Pau.

Players off contract in 2019

Dane Coles (32) Nathan Harris (26) Liam Coltman (28) Owen Franks (30) Tim Perry (30) Kane Hames (30) Patrick Tuipulotu (25) Brodie Retallick (27) Matt Todd (30) Liam Squire (27) Jordan Taufua (26) Luke Whitelock (27) Shannon Frizell  (24) Jackson Hemopo (25) Elliot Dixon (29) Aaron Smith (30) Beauden Barrett (27) Richie Mo'unga (24) Jack Goodhue (23) Sonny Bill Williams (33) Ngani Laumape (25) Ryan Crotty (30) ​Israel Dagg (30) Jordie Barrett (21) Waisake Naholo (27) Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi​ (23) Dalton Papalii (21)

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