Brad Shields' English ambitions remain in limbo, in the hands of others.

Shields starts at No 8 for the Hurricanes against the Sunwolves in Wellington on Friday night but speculation around whether he will receive clearance to play for England in June appears no closer.

Given the Hurricanes are expected to steamroll the Sunwolves, Shields' knowledge of his complicated contract situation dominated pre-match discussions.

"I haven't heard anything yet," Shields said today, indicating he had no idea when it would be resolved.


To recap, Shields will join English club Wasps at the end of the Super Rugby season but, well before then, England coach Eddie Jones wants the abrasive loose forward to feature in the three-test June series in South Africa.

Quite why the largest union in the world needs to fast-track a New Zealander who is yet to represent an English club is cause for debate.

As it stands, New Zealand Rugby continues to mull their position and whether or not they have grounds to prevent Shields from wearing the English shirt in June, given he is still contracted to the Hurricanes.

The matter seems destined to be decided by the courts.

"That's something I don't have to worry about. My manager and NZ Rugby and whoever else needs to get involved will take care of that I just want to play good rugby. Those guys can look after the nitty-gritty and fine print.

"It's about opportunity. If I can play some good footy and be available for whatever is coming up and put my name forward as much as I can then hopefully things crop up."

Injuries to Kieran Read and Liam Squire coupled with Jerome Kaino's imminent departure to France may have opened the door for Shields' long-awaited All Blacks call-up this season.

But after seven years of knocking on the door, the 27-year-old grew tired of waiting and will now represent England, qualifying through parental lineage.

The only question is when: June or November?

"I needed to try something new. That's the way the road has gone for me and I'm pretty happy with where it is heading. When I signed over in England that was always part of the plans. As a player, your goal is to always play at that next level. That's my goal and it always has been.

"I just need to play well and not let it distract me."