Malakai Fekitoa's All Blacks days are probably numbered.

The All Blacks midfielder, not selected in the squad for the recent Lions series but called in for the third test by coach Steve Hansen after the hamstring injury to Ryan Crotty and Sonny Bill Williams' four-match suspension, has signed a contract with Toulon and will leave after he sees out the season with the Highlanders.

The 25-year-old's decision was made on the basis that he wasn't included in Hansen's original squad, but after being recalled, and playing 14 minutes off the reserves bench at Eden Park, the Herald understands he may now be regretting his decision.

Whether he will want to, or is able to, follow the example of his Highlanders and All Blacks teammate Waisake Naholo and backtrack on his decision remains to be seen. Naholo signed with Clermont, another French club, in 2015 before changing his mind and making Hansen's World Cup squad.


Fekitoa's agents, Esportif, denied he has signed a contract with the French club.

Fekitoa, who has played 24 tests after making his debut in 2014, is a quality midfielder and adds significantly to New Zealand Rugby's depth. He also showed his worth for the Highlanders in their famous come-from-behind victory over the Lions in Dunedin three weeks ago when he and Naholo caused the tourists all sorts of trouble.

He is now behind Williams, Crotty, Anton Lienert-Brown, Ngani Laumape and Crusaders 22-year-old Jack Goodhue in the All Blacks' midfield pecking order, but his experience and youth is such that he would have remained firmly in Hansen's mix had he stayed.

One of Fekitoa's most memorable tests was the Bledisloe Cup match in Brisbane in 2014. With the All Blacks trailing by six points, Fekitoa scored the try in the 80th minute which gave his side a chance and then watched as Colin Slade kicked the difficult conversion for a dramatic victory.

Another was last November in Dublin when Fekitoa scored two tries against Ireland in the "revenge match" after their loss a fortnight earlier in Chicago and was also yellow carded for a high tackle.