It's the test career which never quite left the launch pad.

But Tawera Kerr-Barlow says it remains a privilege to be an All Black, despite a career which has seen him win just two starts - against easy-beats Japan and Italy - in 26 appearances.

Kerr-Barlow looked a very special test halfback prospect after emerging for Waikato in 2009.

But he has been usurped by two sparkling talents, the rapid and surefire delivery of the great Aaron Smith and TJ Perenara's cocky presence.


At the 2015 World Cup, Kerr-Barlow edged ahead of Perenara, but this surge was short-lived.

There is daylight between Kerr-Barlow and the next best All Black option, with still no indication who the selectors feel will step into his shoes.

So Kerr-Barlow retains his place despite having signed for La Rochelle in France after this season. He may even hang on for the end of year northern tour, when rising talent is traditionally introduced.

Kerr-Barlow and Perenara faced the media in Argentina which confirms that, as occurred last year, they will probably be the halfback duo selected against the Pumas in Buenos Aires on Sunday morning.

"I'm in a privileged position to be part of the All Blacks and live my dream - I want to make the most of it and enjoy every moment I've got left," said the 27-year-old Kerr-Barlow.

"I'm not thinking about anything else...I'm fortunate that Steve (Hansen) and the coaching group keep selecting me and have faith in me. I rock up here and do what I have to do for the team.

"I'm in the fortunate position of still being part of the All Black side even though I'm heading away next year.

"Obviously it is disappointing (when not selected) but I'm part of the best team in the world and if I'm not selected I use the Thursday trainings like it is my game.

"You've got to suck it up, and do what is best for your mates and get them prepared as well as you can.

"If you can't play then the next best thing is being part of the team. My mind is still fully on the job and what I can do for the All Blacks."

Perenara said Kerr-Barlow was "second to none" in setting high standards on and off the field, and "keeping people honest".

"If you slip up, he lets you know about it," he said.

"I'll miss playing against him as well (in Super Rugby). We don't say a hell of a lot to each other on the field, but it is always one of the games where I know I've got to be on point."

Perenara said the All Black halfbacks were "friends before competitors but we want to beat each other in training or games."

"Having that competitive edge forces you to be good every single time," he said.

The All Blacks arrived on Friday, giving them the weekend to deal with jet lag before going into a standard training week.

Perenara said the singing Argentinian fans at this year's test in New Plymouth reminded the All Blacks of the atmosphere that would greet them on Sunday.

The Pumas also sent out a warning in that game.

"They led us at the half and beat us until the 60th minute," Perenara said.

"If they play a game which suits their tempo if they bring their physicality to the game, they can beat most teams," he said.