Kalyn Ponga has once again been linked to the All Blacks and a potential run at the 2023 Rugby World Cup recently, but his father – who doubles as his agent – says fans shouldn’t read too much into the situation.
Last week it was revealed Ponga’s new four-year contract with the Knights has a player option attached to it, meaning the 22-year-old could leave the NRL at end of 2022 if he wishes.
The clause means, once again, an interview three years ago where Ponga first said he'd love to play for the All Blacks has become relevant as commentators question whether the Knights star will chase a childhood dream and the black jersey.
Andre Ponga said the rumour mill will always swirl around his son.
“That's a quote that everyone takes off and that's understandable,” he said.
“Because of that Kiwi heritage, realistically it will always be there and it will always be speculation.”
Australian media have reported ever since that infamous 2017 interview that the Queensland star wants to play at the Rugby World Cup in 2023 but the elder Ponga said it’s not even on his son’s radar.
“He come out and said in the announcement of the new agreement that his main focus is winning an [NRL] Premiership,” Andre Ponga said.
“So if you look too far, you'll miss out on what you're trying to aim for at the moment.”
That means right now, the playmaker’s only focus is on rehabbing the shoulder that ruled him out of State of Origin.
“We’ve got to get him back on the park, got to get him playing good football again, and the Knights is the focus.”
Andre Ponga added they've had no formal interest from rugby union, although technically he could start taking offers this time next year.