Sonny Bill Williams may yet be asked to play in the first two tests of the Rugby Championship.
Injuries to Richard Kahui and Conrad Smith have weakened New Zealand's midfield options and NZRU CEO Steve Tew's confirmed Williams is eligible for selection.
But it will depend on his commitments in Japan.
"I guess if the selectors want him then the conversation will be has he got time to play in the competition before he goes (up) to Japan."
Tew won't be drawn on the selectors plans.
"I wouldn't rule it out 'cause he's eligible because he's still contracted to New Zealand but that's a matter for the selectors."
The selectors meet this weekend to discuss their Rugby Championship squad.
And the NZRU will assess players looking to have sabbaticals in Japanese club rugby on a case-by-case basis.