Super Rugby Pacific: Chiefs flyer Shaun Stevenson tipped for All Blacks call-up after stellar start to 2023

Chiefs flyer Shaun Stevenson is doing everything possible to put himself in the frame for All Blacks selection this year, coach Clayton McMillan says.

In a blistering start to 2023 that sees the Chiefs top of the table after the first three rounds of Super Rugby Pacific, Stevenson is arguably the competition's form player.

A hat-trick against Moana Pasifika in Melbourne last week was followed by a double on Friday against the Highlanders, as part of the Chiefs' perfect start to the season.

Shaun Stevenson for the All Blacks XV against the Barbarians.
Shaun Stevenson for the All Blacks XV against the Barbarians. Photo credit: Getty Images

At just 26 years of age, Stevenson has already notched 70 appearances for the Chiefs since his debut in 2016, and also featured for the Māori All Blacks, and the All Blacks XV on last year's northern tour.

Capable of playing anywhere in the back three, Stevenson also turned down an approach from NRL super coach Wayne Bennett, after he was sounded out to join Redcliffe Dolphins in a cross-code switch.

But having stayed put in the 15-man code, higher honours could be on the way, according to his Super Rugby coach. 

With the Rugby World Cup beginning in September, the clock is ticking for the selectors to finalise their plans for what the All Blacks squad will look like.

At present, the back three appears to be the least certain department for the All Blacks, with multiple players putting their hands up.

Jordie Barrett's move from fullback into midfield, and Damian McKenzie starting the season in the No.10 jersey could open the door for new blood into the test side, with McMillan suggesting Stevenson should at the very least be on the radar of All Blacks coach Ian Foster.

"Everybody's got an opportunity this year to put their best foot forward," said McMillan. 

"I don't think the World Cup squad is set in stone. Anyone who plays consistently well puts themself in the shop window.

"You'd have to say that he's doing a lot of good things that must be raising the eyebrows of Fozzie and his crew."

For now, though, Stevenson's importance to the Chiefs shouldn't be underestimated.

After the first three rounds of the competition, Stevenson has scored a third (5/15) of the Chiefs' tries this season.

And if the Chiefs are to end a wait for a title that dates back to 2013, McMillan knows how important Stevenson will be to that cause.

"He scores all the tries, he's been going well," McMillan said. "It's been well documented, he's had a fantastic last six or seven months.

"His confidence is high, we're seeing him get involved in a lot. His finishing has been second to none - long may that continue."