Hardie has high hopes All Blacks may call

RUNNING HARD: John Hardie is understood to be a target for Scotland.
RUNNING HARD: John Hardie is understood to be a target for Scotland.

In-form Highlanders flanker John Hardie says he hasn't had any contact with the All Blacks decision-makers but isn't all that fazed about it.

Hardie has started in every game for the Highlanders this season and has been one of their few standout players.

Despite this, when it came to All Blacks selection debate, in the lead-up to Sunday's squad naming for the French series, his name didn't feature.

With Richie McCaw out of action Sam Cane was, as expected, named as the first string openside flanker in the squad while Crusaders No 7 Matt Todd was included as cover.

With Cane's Chiefs team-mate Tanerau Latimer thought to be the next cab off the rank it has Hardie some way down the pecking order.

"It's always been a goal of mine but you can't think that far ahead, and if it comes one day, it comes," Hardie said.

"But I'm not too worried about that I'm more worried about the Highlanders at the moment."

Hardie has had a massive workload with the Highlanders in 2013 but said he was feeling good.

"The body is actually holding up really well. For the amount of game time I've had I'm feeling reasonably good."

As far as Southland goes, there will be plenty of interest as to what sort of a role he can play for the Stags given the big Super Rugby campaign he will be coming from.

"I think it's going to be a lot about recovery and getting my rest but I am looking forward to get back to Southland but I'm also looking forward to the rest of the Highlanders' season," he said.

Hardie said the 2013 season had been tough and frustrating.

"It has been tough, but we weren't that far away from that performance. We've been building towards that all season but things just weren't quite stacking up and I think it just shows what can happen when things go our way."

Hardie said he would spend some time having a break at his parents' home in Dipton as well as in Invercargill before he heads back to Dunedin for the remainder of the Super Rugby season.

The Southland Times