Cross-code star Sonny Bill Williams has been granted special dispensation to be included in the All Blacks' end-of-year tour squad.
Williams, who currently plays in the NRL with the reigning premiers, Sydney Roosters, will return to rugby once his two-year league deal runs out, but the timing of the All Blacks' tour means he may not play a domestic match in the ITM Cup before the squad is picked.
The New Zealand Rugby board, however, has granted him an exemption to be selected without having played in the national provincial championship, with chief executive Steve Tew saying the All Blacks' coaching staff can select the Rugby World Cup winner if they want him in the squad.
"It is still expected he will play ITM Cup rugby, but that is dependent on how the Roosters do in the NRL, and if you ask Warriors fans they would say they are doing quite well," Tew said.
"The board were asked last Friday what they were comfortable with in terms of how many games he had to play to tick the box."