Rugby: Scott Robertson reveals push to get All Blacks hopeful Leicester Fainga'anuku to World Cup

Crusaders coach Scott Robertson has revealed his plans for Leicester Fainga'anuku, as the All Blacks hopeful pushes for a spot at the World Cup.

Robertson believes Fainga'anuku's versatility will be key to booking his ticket to France, with NZ coach Ian Foster unlikely to take more than two specialist wingers.

Fainga'anuku, 23, made his All Blacks debut on the wing against Ireland in the July series opener, but the following test at Dunedin proved to be his last for the year.

He was a late withdrawal from the team to play Japan at Tokyo in October, returning home for personal reasons.

But Robertson has outlined Fainga'anuku's pathway back to black, with the ability to cover wing and centre invaluable for knockout tournaments like a World Cup.

"Be both," he said. "We want to get him to a Rugby World Cup, he'll have to play two positions and he's more than capable of both.

"He's a power athlete and he's getting better at all the areas he needs to grow."

While his versatility can only further his chances of making Foster's squad, he faces stiff competition for the role.

Rieko Ioane, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Braydon Ennor have all played the positions, with only Ioane nailed in as a starter in the No.13 jersey.

With several others vying for hybrid backline spots in Foster's squad, Fainga'anuku could find himself on the outside looking in, if he can't surpass Tuivasa-Sheck and Ennor in the pecking order.

Fainga'anuku was instrumental in the Crusaders' Super Rugby triumph last year and will be undoubtedly be key to a record-extending 12th title this season.

He won't have to look far to find his competition, with the All Blacks-laden Crusaders not wanting for world-class options in the backline.

Teammates Ennor, Jack Goodhue, David Havili, Will Jordan, and Sevu Reece will all make one final push for All Blacks selection, with all able to cover more than one position.

Fainga'anuku's first port of call starts right at the Crusaders and he will need to start at either position each game, if he's to earn favour with Foster.